One city. Three baboons. Countless takes. Welcome to PEDESTRIAN.TV‘s guide to yesterday’s life-changing incident.
My God, where have you been? In short, three baboons escaped from containment at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital yesterday, where they enjoyed a brief runaround before being captured by NSW Police and animal handlers from Taronga Zoo. It was the best thing to happen this year.
???? – Michael Tran pic.twitter.com/Ww7uqc6n2R
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) February 25, 2020
Why were they there?
In a statement, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a randy 15-year-old male was slated to undergo a vasectomy in order to prevent all kinds of breeding issues at the baboon colony in Wallacia, roughly an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD.
“He cut loose before the big cut,” Hazzard told the ABC.
As for the other two baboons? Well, those two females reportedly accompanied the male to keep him calm. Emotional support baboons, if you will.
Wait, there’s a colony of baboons housed in Western Sydney?
Yes. Much of the hype around this particular incident has focused on this 2016 article which revealed taxpayer funds have been dedicated to an animal experimentation program.
At the time, the Sydney Morning Herald made public evidence that one baboon underwent a “Frankenstein-like” kidney transplant from a genetically modified pig, and was later euthanised.
But a Sydney Local Health District spokesperson said experiments conducted on the baboons was important for research into disorders like complicated diabetes and some kidney ailments.
Have they been returned?
ABC reports the baboons were returned to the colony overnight. Earlier, Hazzard said the male will still undergo his vasectomy at a later point. Lucky him.
i, too, will terrorise a city with my wives if you attempt to take away my virile sperm
— beef bus (@binchbus) February 25, 2020
What happens now?
Well, NSW Health has kicked off an investigation into the incident, which, if we’re being honest, could have turned out a lot worse: baboons are not traditionally known for being totally a-okay with roaming around urban environments just a few screaming leaps away from stunned bystanders.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has contacted NSW Health for comment.
What do animal rights activists have to say about this whole deal?
NSW Greens senator and animal rights spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi was half-joking when she “welcomed” the baboons’ escape and wished them well, but other pollies have been more direct.
Speaking to ABC, Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst criticised “painful procedures forced upon their bodies against their will.”
“Baboon escapees running around Sydney today have been met with delight and laughter,” Animals Australia said in a social media post.
“But the truth about the ongoing use of primates, who are self-aware like us, in experiments in Australia is anything but funny.”
PEDESTRIAN.TV has also contacted Animals Australia for further comment.
Right. Is there any risk to people now?
Unless there are even more low-key baboon enclosures dotting the city, it appears the risk of further escapes is quite low. It would be quite audacious of health authorities to continue carting baboons around given yesterday’s events, after all.
We’ll let you know if there’s another one, though. Jesus Christ, we will let you know.Image: The Today Show