A group of baboons who escaped from a Texas research facility during the weekend supported a barrel near a wall, climbed onto it and then fled their outdoor enclosure, officials said Monday.
The four animals escaped the Southwest National Primate Research Center at around 15:15 Saturday, according to News 4 San Antonio.
The baboons usually play with the 55-gallon enrichment barrels inside their six-acre pin to mimic foraging behavior, the research center said in a news release.
"This really was a unique incident," said Lisa Cruz, Vice President of Communications, San Antonio Express News. "We have been looking after research baboons for more than 50 years and we have nearly 1
Video footage showed the animals walking down roads a few miles from the research center. A trained team was able to catch them again, officials said. The team needed 30 minutes to secure the baboons.
The research institute houses more than 2,500 animals. The researchers say that baboons are critical to the medical research process because of their similarity in body structure to humans.
"Baboons are critical to metabolic research, cardiovascular research, neurological research, vaccine studies, and I think they are really important in advancing biomedical research." John Bernal told News 4 San Antonio