Why troublesome baboons were at Sydney hospital

Author
Newstalk ZB, news.com.au,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Feb 2020, 5:03PM
Baboons on the loose at RPA Hospital, Sydney. (Photo / Nine News)

Why troublesome baboons were at Sydney hospital

Author
Newstalk ZB, news.com.au,
Publish Date
Thu, 27 Feb 2020, 5:03PM

A male baboon scheduled to have a vasectomy was part of a trio of primates that managed to escape and were on the loose in a carpark near Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney’s inner west yesterday.

A NSW Police spokeswoman told news.com.au that officers were called to a carpark on Missenden Rd and Lucas St, Camperdown just before 5.30pm after reports three baboons had escaped while being transported.

Footage obtained by 7 News shows three baboons emerging from the hospital and making their way towards a parked ambulance while passersby look on in amazement.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told The Daily Telegraph that one of the baboons was due to have a vasectomy at the hospital and he was being accompanied by his two wives to “keep him comfortable”.

“After the operation him and the two wives will return to the colony where he can stay forever with them but he will no longer be having babies,” Mr Hazzard said.

The baboons escaped from a truck while being transported from a colony in Western Sydney, to an animal research facility at the hospital.

Mr Hazzard said baboons were used as part of medical research ranging from kidney disease to pregnancy issues.

“The research includes reproductive issues, kidney disease, gestational diabetes — a whole range of research areas and with the conclusion of the research they return to the colony in Western Sydney and they usually just live their lives out until old age.”

In a Twitter post shortly before 7pm, NSW Police said the situation was under control.

“They are currently contained,” the police spokeswoman confirmed. “Police are working with experts to safely return them to their facility.

“There is no immediate danger to the public but people are advised to avoid the area.”

NSW Health has been contacted for comment.

The use of primates for medical experiments at RPA and a number of other Sydney hospitals and universities was revealed in 2016.

Animals are bred specifically for animal research at the National Health and Medical Research Council baboon colony in Wallacia, in Sydney’s west.

A spokeswoman from the Sydney Local Health District told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2016 that the baboons are used for research on treatments for conditions like pre-eclampsia, complicated diabetes, kidney disorders and vascular diseases.

Earlier, a woman told 2GB that her daughter, who worked at RPA, had seen the baboons.

“My daughter is an occupational therapist at RPA and she said “yes mum I just helped wrangle them,” she said to 2GB.

The news of baboons loose in Sydney sparked jokes and commentary on social media.

It’s not the first time animals have been loose in Sydney’s inner west.

In 2014, water buffaloes broke free while filming a Korean Samsung commercial and travelled for more than two kilometres before being caught by authorities.