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Forestry Bureau sets deadline for Leofoo Village to microchip baboons

03/31/2023 10:41 PM
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Baboon kept Leofoo Village Theme Park are pictured when Forestry Bureau officials inspect the facility in Hsinchu County on Friday. CNA photo March 31, 2023
Baboon kept Leofoo Village Theme Park are pictured when Forestry Bureau officials inspect the facility in Hsinchu County on Friday. CNA photo March 31, 2023

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) Taiwan's Forestry Bureau on Friday gave Leofoo Village Theme Park one month to improve the facility where it keeps its baboons and six months to finish microchipping and registering the primates, following a public outcry over the killing of its runaway baboon.

The order came after Agricultural Technology Research Institute (ATRI) President Chen Cheng-wen (陳正文), bureau officials, animal caretakers from Taipei Zoo, and academics carried out an on-site inspection at the facility.

Leofoo Village has come under fire and close scrutiny after a baboon that escaped from its facility was shot by a hunter on March 27 in an attempted capture and died from its injuries that day.

The park had previously denied that the baboon was one of its animals, and only on the evening of March 29 did it reverse its statement, citing a mistake in counting its baboons.

The park’s failure to promptly identify and contain the baboon has raised questions over the management of its animals.

Following the inspection, the Forestry Bureau issued a press release detailing problems it identified.

It said the electric fence around the baboon area was too low, and trees were planted too close to the area, which increases the chance of baboons escaping, especially when the trees have not been trimmed for a long period of time or when they become slanted.

In addition, management of the electronic gate was porous, and the primates could escape if caretakers did not pay attention, the bureau said.

It gave the park one month to elevate the electric fence, trim the trees around the baboon area, and train all employees on the prevention of animal escapes and the management of electronic gates when shuttles are passing through.

As the geography of the baboon area was complicated, and there were many culverts in which baboons could hide, it would be difficult to manually count the animals, the bureau said.

As such, the bureau ordered the park to have all its baboons microchipped and registered within six months.

Meanwhile, the inspection team also suggested that work be done to improve the environment in which the baboons live, including leveling the ground, establishing more resting platforms, setting up cameras to better learn about the baboons’ habits, and adding four to five feeding spots to the current ones.

In addition, the bureau asked the park to shoot drone footage of the baboons and their habitat every day for a short period of time starting on Friday for use by ATRI to create an artificial intelligence identification model, which, if proved to be successful, would greatly improve Leofoo Village’s management of the baboons.

(By Yang Shu-min and Sean Lin)


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