Monday, March 20, 2006

Loose African baboon evades captors

A baboon was still on the loose in Wadeville on the East Rand on Friday after evading attempts to capture it, police said.

"The last time he was spotted was around 5.30pm on Thursday in the Wadeville area," Constable Trevor Ackerman said.

Police were relying largely on calls from the public to locate him. His active nature made finding and darting him difficult.

"On Saturday he was in Alberton, on Tuesday at Germiston Lake, then in Lambton and then at a warehouse in Wadeville," Ackerman said.

The fully grown male baboon, weighing about 60kg, has been roaming the East Rand for the past three weeks, spending each night on the roof of a different block of flats.

Police were unable to capture the primate on Thursday.

"We tried to dart it earlier, but we were unsuccessful. We have to dart it in a safe manner because it takes about four minutes for the dart to work.

"It may become aggressive and we don't want to harm the animal or any person," Ackerman said on Thursday.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Germiston has set traps for the baboon on buildings where it has been spotted.

Spokesperson Rob Delport said the SPCA has been trying to capture the animal since Tuesday. It is thought to have escaped from the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve or from a reserve near Pretoria.

"It's possible that he's been kicked out of a group and was searching for a new group and so keeps moving around. He's not really a danger to anyone. We haven't had reports of any injuries caused by him."

Delport warned the public to stay away from the animal. It is believed that people are putting out food for the baboon.

Story here.

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