Three baboons escaped a Texas biomedical research facility over the weekend, getting a brief taste of freedom from a life as subjects of medical experiments.
From 2010 to present, the USDA has required the Texas Biomedical Research Institute to make changes to various aspects of the facility's infrastructure and care for the animals.
The baboons were only recently provided with the 55 gallon barrels that staff introduced to their open air enclosure as an "enrichment tool" and in the hope that they would be "used to help mimic foraging behaviours". Our animal capture team and entire animal care team acted diligently to locate, secure and account for all four baboons.
As well as the 1,100 baboons, the centre has around 2,500 other animals in captivity. They aid our scientists in the search for new diagnostics, drug therapies and vaccines.
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The animals were captured within 30 minutes of their escape, the company said, insisting the public was never in danger, because the animals were not part of an active study.
Our immediate concern has been for the safety of the animals, personnel and our neighbors in the surrounding area.
SNPRC staff members explained Monday how the four baboons were able to escape the facility on Saturday.
However, the three remaining primates were recaptured within half an hour.
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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". "We have been fond for re-search baboons for at least 50 years". However, the team has removed them from use for further assessment and modification, as the barrel was close enough to the wall that the animals had an opportunity to climb on one and get out of the housing structure.
"That was truly a distinctive incident", Lisa Cruz, the assistant vice president for communications, told the San Antonio ExpressNews.
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.
"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", the centre said.
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