African baboon caught after more than 17 days on the loose in northern Taiwan

A baboon believed to have escaped from a zoo was finally caught today after leading search teams on a cat and mouse chase through rural districts of Taoyuan City over a period of around 9 days.

The olive baboon was first sighted outside a factory in an industrial area in Pingzhen District March 10. After another sighting March 18, the head of Zhenxing village sought help from the nearby Leofoo Village Theme Park Zoo.

While Leofoo Village has more than 100 baboons, and is by far the closest zoo to the area of the sightings, zoo authorities denied that the animal was one of theirs, but were happy to help capture it.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to shoot the animal with a tranquilizer dart, Taoyuan City animal protection workers also joined the chase, setting up a baboon capture war room to help monitor sightings and coordinate search teams.

garden with damaged lettuce and suspected baboon paw prints.
Taoyuan City Agriculture Bureau staff inspect farm after farmer reports damaged lettuce and suspicious paw prints in Yangmei District, March 26, 2023.
man with tranquilizer gun searched public toilets for escaped baboon
Public restrooms were carefully searched during the hunt for an evasive baboon. Picture: Taoyuan City Agriculture Bureau.

The baboon led the chase by zig-zagging around Pingzhen, Xinwu, and Yangmei districts, and even making an appearance in Hukuo District, Hsinchu County.

At around 9:00 am this morning, Monday, March 27, the baboon was caught on security monitor footage at the Taiwan Railway Fugang Machinery Manufacturing Factory in Yangmei District.

A search party including several men with dart guns converged on the area. The baboon was finally cornered in an abandoned house and shot with a tranquilizer gun at around 3:00 pm.

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