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Guinea baboon escapes enclosure at Port Lympne Reserve near Hythe

A baboon has been sedated and caught by keepers after escaping his enclosure at a popular zoo.

Keepers at Port Lympne Reserve near Hythe quickly managed to surround the animal after he broke free at around 11am.

The park was locked down for an hour after the male guinea baboon broke a section of the electric fence surrounding the enclosure but is now said to be "safe and sound".

Guinea baboons at Port Lympne. One escaped his enclosure earlier today but has been caught by keepers
Guinea baboons at Port Lympne. One escaped his enclosure earlier today but has been caught by keepers

Visitors were taken to designated safe zones around the 600 acre site while the incident was dealt with by primate keepers.

Port Lympne animal director Adrian Harland said: "We were alerted to the escape and our team immediately reacted to contain the situation.

"I’d like to thank all our visitors for their patience during the procedure and our keeper and vet teams for their professionalism throughout."

Some visitors were left stranded in the middle of the safari park while the keepers rounded up the primate.

Keepers were able to take control of the situation and guide the baboon back to his enclosure.

He has since been sedated and taken to the park's vet centre where he was checked over by vets.

He was returned to an inside section of the enclosure and is being monitored overnight, the park announced.

The broken section of electric fence has been repaired.

Mr Harland added: "Our electric fences are designed to be a deterrent and will deliver a shock when touched.

"However, they are not designed to harm our animals. The baboon would have received a shock - but in this case it was not enough to stop him.

"Animal escapes are an extremely rare occurrence at Port Lympne Reserve and I’m happy to report that the baboon is now back in a separate part of the enclosure and is safe and sound."

Visitors have taken to social media to talk about the incident.

While some were left out on safari trucks in the reserve, others were left stuck in the gift shop and cafes around the park.

Baboon factfile

  • Guinea baboons are from West Africa and are the smallest baboon species, weighing between 13 and 26 kg (28.6–57 lbs)
  • Their life spans are between 35 and 45 years
  • Due to its small range and the loss of its habitat, the Guinea baboon is classified as "near threatened" by the IUCN
  • Baboons are omnivorous and opportunistic eaters, feeding on crops and fruits as well as birds and rodents and even larger animals such as antelopes and sheep
  • In general baboons tend not to attack humans unless their feel threatened or a person has something they want, like food
  • They have muzzles similar to dogs, long sharp teeth and powerful jaws so their bite can break bones and even kill
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