Baboon on the loose spotted on highways, backyards in New Jersey

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2011 3:03 PM
Baboon on the loose spotted on highways, backyards in New Jersey

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A baboon wandering the highways and backyards of New Jersey has triggered more than a dozen calls to police by concerned citizens, authorities said on Friday.

The animal may have escaped from the 350-acre wildlife preserve at the Six Flags Great Adventure park in the Franklin Township, said Sergeant Edward Bennett of Franklin Township Police Department.

"He's traveling. It's a heavily wooded area," Bennett said.

"We had two calls yesterday and 10 or 12 today."

A spokeswoman for the amusement park, Kristin Siebeneicher, said it is possible but not probable that the baboon came from the monkey jungle attraction.

The entire wildlife section is enclosed by a high chain link fence, topped with sheet metal, and the baboons are contained in a separate area enclosed by another chain link fence, topped by electrically charged wire, she said.

About 150 baboons live at the park but they are not routinely counted because, unlike other animals there, they do not come inside at night, she said.

"We have never had a situation like this before," Siebeneicher said.

Baboons are naturally social creatures and are "typically not aggressive toward people," she said.

The police sergeant seemed unfazed by the roaming baboon.

"We've had tigers, sheep, bears, cows, horses, bulls," Bennett said.

His advice to residents who spot the baboon: go in the house and call the police.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)