By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA - The fugitive baboon of central New Jersey was captured on Saturday after she was spotted sitting on a fence post on a farm in Howell Township.
A crew from nearby Six Flags Great Adventure park, located in adjacent Jackson Township, arrived at the farm on Fairfield Road, and used a tranquilizer dart from a gun to put her to sleep, and return her to the 350-acre wild safari exhibit there.
The baboon is about 2 years old, according to Kristin Siebeneicher, a spokeswoman for the park.
"We are fairly confident that it is our baboon," Siebeneicher said.
She estimated that the animal had traveled about 10 miles through Jackson, Freehold and Howell before being captured. A resident of the farm spotted the baboon, and called police, she said. A six-person crew from the animal park dashed to the scene.
After the baboon was shot with the dart, "They picked her up and carried her." She estimated that the baboon weighs 30 to 35 pounds, and is about two feet tall.
The park has now added two extra strips of electric wire to the baboon enclosure, which is also surrounded by chain link fence. The park has also installed surveillance video cameras in the baboon area, and is working on a way to do a nightly count of its estimated 150 baboons, as it does with other animals.
She said it's not clear how the baboon escaped, and said that it was the first animal to get out of the park since it was built in 1974, except for an incident about a decade ago when someone deliberately snipped a hole in the fence and several antelope fled.
The baboon was still sleeping Saturday evening, and will be kept in isolation for about two weeks to make sure she is healthy, Siebeneicher said.
(Editing by Greg McCune)