Remember how a few months ago, 52 baboon escaped from a Paris zoo?
Four baboons who were in a Texas biomedical research facility learned their lesson. They’ve gone one step up in the evolutionary chain and figured out to use barrels to escape.
Officials at Texas Biomedical Research Institute said the incident was unusual and a unique situation.
In a statement, the escape was called an “animal perimeter breach” which highlights what the institute calls the critical role of animal care team in research.
The baboons are housed in an open air enclosure that is surrounded by perimeter walls that fold inward to preclude the animals from jumping out, an enclosure that has been used for more than 35 years.
The animal care staff figured that the animals left the enclosure by rolling a 55-gallon barrel to an upright position.
The barrels are placed in the enclosure as an enrichment tools for the animals to help mimic foraging behaviours.
The research facility has more than 2,500 animals on its campus and are used as a “crucial part of the quest to understand the mechanisms of disease.”
The scientists at Texas Biomed are looking for new diagnostics, drug therapies and vaccines.
The four baboons and three of them breached perimeter fencing around the Institute. The three baboons were captured by Southwest National Primate Research Center capture team within 20-30 minutes of leaving their enclosure.
“The actions of the animal care and capture team taken this weekend is just one example of the strong training and preparedness of animal care workers in biomedical research,” said John Bernal, DVM, attending veterinarian at SNPRC. “Our animal capture team and the entire animal care team acted diligently and followed protocol to locate, secure and account for the baboons.”
The animal capture team, per protocol, was wearing personal protective equipment for the safety of the animals, as they are susceptible to human illnesses. These animals were not infected, as they were not on an active study nor used in infectious disease research.
“This was truly a unique incident,” said Lisa Cruz, Assistant Vice President for Communications. “We have been caring for research baboons for more than 50 years. We have nearly 1100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations. Baboons, as with all our animals, are critical to biomedical research. Baboons, in particular, have played an important role in the discovery of life-saving drugs, therapies and vaccines and have led to greater understanding of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and so much more that impact the lives of millions of people.”
The facility has nearly 1100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations and the baboons are used for biomedical research, particularly in chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more.
Photo credit: Clem Spaulding