Last month, a group of baboons escaped a research centre in Texas (US). A veritable demonstration of the animal’s ingenuity, which gave the three baboons a brief taste of freedom, before they were finally recaptured.
The escape, which happened at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (TBRI) in San Antonio, was made possible thanks to intelligent use of a blue barrel with a capacity of 208 litres. But the baboons didn’t hide inside it: the escapees used their barrel as a ladder to help them climb the walls of their enclosure. “They are very intelligent animals”, said the TBRI spokesperson, Lisa Cruz, to Gizmodo. “We don’t know exactly how the barrel got there, but in one way or another, it ended up in just the right place, near the wall of the enclosure, so that the baboons could climb on top of it and jump over the barrier”.
In fact, a fourth baboon also climbed the wall, only to reconsider and turn back in the end. The other three went on the run. Two were caught in the trees, not far from the enclosure, but the third got as far as the main road. A driver managed to film the animal with her mobile phone, and captured a video of the staff running after the baboon.
Four baboons escaped their enclosure at a San Antonio biomedical research facility Saturday. A woman then spotted one leading researchers on a wild foot chase down a Texas highway.
— ABC News (@ABC) April 15, 2018
The three escape artists are among the 1100 baboons listed, who make up part of the 2500 animals in total in the biomedical research institute, who use these primates to study diseases such as AIDS, malaria and the Ebola virus.
The animal rights organisation Peta took advantage of the incident to criticise the establishment, claiming that there had been several escape attempts and accidental deaths of animals in recent years. According to a Peta statement, “Texas Biomed puts everyone in danger -its staff, the public, and also the…. primates that they keep prisoner – by imprisoning animals whose only desire is to escape the nightmare of the laboratories”.