Baboons Use Barrel To Escape Texas Research Facility In 'Unique Incident'


Four baboons used a 55-gallon barrel to escape from a research facility in Texas on the weekend, as startled motorists took video of the primates merrily running alongside a road.

The study institute is now home to more than 2,500 creatures.

The animal care team determined the baboons rolled a barrel upright near a wall of their open-air enclosure, then climbed it, which allowed them to escape.

Three of the baboons were recaptured within 20-30 minutes of escaping.

The animal capture team, per protocol, was wearing personal protective equipment for the safety of the animals, as they are susceptible to human illnesses.

The primates are being kept by the Southwest National Primate Research Center, which operates from the TBRI campus and keeps more than 2,500 animals in captivity on the campus for research into diseases and drug treatments.

The three baboons are used to help aid scientists looking for cures and vaccines for diseases, so you could understand their desire to escape.

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"Baboons are crucial to metabolic lookup, cardiovascular research, neurological research, vaccine studies".

Our immediate concern has been for the safety of the animals, personnel and our neighbors in the surrounding area. The SNPRC veterinary staff attended to the three baboons managing to breach perimeter fencing, and the baboons are doing well.

The baboons perform with all the enrichment barrels inside their six-acre pencil to mimic foraging behaviour, the study facility said in a news release.

Resident Dorian Reyna, who captured video of workers chasing baboons down Military Drive before joining the pursuit, said in a Facebook post that he had been concerned at first seeing "people in scrubs and face masks chasing a baboon".

"This was truly a unique incident", Lisa Cruz, assistant vice-president for communications, reportedly said. This enclosure has been used for more than 35 years. Baboons, as with all our animals, are critical to biomedical research. "Upon noticing the animals on top of the enclosure, our animal care team immediately removed the barrels from the enclosure and alerted the animal capture team".

Lisa Cruz, assistant vice president for communications at the Southwest National Primate Research Centre, that is part of the institute, said: 'We have almost 1,100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations.