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Baboon on the loose in Taoyuan captured, dies of injuries

03/27/2023 09:40 PM
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A man carries the caught baboon out of a residence in Taoyuan on Monday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor
A man carries the caught baboon out of a residence in Taoyuan on Monday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor

Taoyuan, March 27 (CNA) A non-native olive baboon, which has been sighted on the loose in Taoyuan since March 10, was captured Monday afternoon before dying later in the day from serious injuries, according to the city's Department of Agriculture.

The department, which took over the task of capturing the baboon on March 23 from local residents, said it received reports that the animal was seen in Taoyuan's Yangmei District at around 3 p.m.

The baboon ended up trapped in a private residence before department officials arrived at 3:25 p.m. The animal was caught after it was shot with a tranquillizer dart.

According to the department, the baboon was treated on site for serious injuries, and was taken to the Leofoo Village Theme Park in neighboring Hsinchu County for further treatment under the park veterinarian's guidance.

It died, however, before arriving at the park.

The baboon was already injured when it was caught, with the injuries thought to have been caused by a shotgun, the department said.

The police will look into what happened to the animal, the department said, and everyone who was present when the baboon was caught has been asked to cooperate with the investigation.

According to the department, its officials only took one tranquilizer gun with them, but the park declined to comment when asked if any Leofoo employees taking part in catching the baboon carried guns.

The park said all information will be released by the Taoyuan City Department of Agriculture, which had not released any further information as of Monday at 7 p.m.

The Forestry Bureau said it will work with Taoyuan City authorities to clarify what happened between the time Taoyuan officials arrived at the residence where the baboon was trapped and after the animal was caught.

At the same time, the dead baboon will be sent to the Taipei Zoo to determine its origin and help track down its owner.

There has been speculation that the animal escaped from the Leofoo park because of its proximity to Taoyuan and because it is one of only two places in Taiwan allowed to keep olive baboons. The other is the Taipei Zoo.

The examination carried out by the Taipei Zoo will confirm whether the baboon was from the Leofoo park or if it was kept illegally by a private owner, according to the Forestry Bureau.

The Hsinchu County government has ordered Leofoo to take a head count of the 163 baboons (divided into three different species) kept at its safari park within a week.

The park's most recent effort to check its baboon population failed after a drone borrowed to help with the counting crashed on March 24.

(By Wu Jui-chi, Kuo Hsuan-wen, Tseng Yi-ning and Kay Liu) Endtiem/ls

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