The Australian primates were seen loitering close to the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Camperdown, near the Professor Marie Bashir Centre building.
In video footage captured by Michael Tran, as verified by Storyful, the monkeys run down the street, much to the surprise of onlookers.
— Dougal Wallace (@DougalWallace) February 25, 2020
The New South Wales Police Force shared the bizarre news on their social media feeds with a tongue-in-cheek announcement.
“This is not a Mandrill! Earlier this afternoon, a troop of baboons escaped from a facility and were going bananas in Camperdown,” the force wrote.
“Police and wildlife handlers now have the situation under control, so please let them do their job and don’t be tempted to pry, mates.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard told ABC that the baboons escaped while being transported by truck to the hospital from a nearby colony. The 15-year-old male baboon was being brought in for a vasectomy, and the two females were there “to keep him calm.”
“The reason they are doing is to allow him to continue to live his life in peace and harmony with his own family and they couldn’t have him continuing constantly to breed within the troupe because it presents all sorts of genetic problems,” he said.
“He cut loose before the big cut.”
However, some are claiming these baboons were victims of harmful research practices and attempted to “flee to safety.”
It’s believed they were taken from the NSW National Health and Medical Research Council baboon colony in Wallacia, western Sydney.
“Tonight several baboons have made an attempted flee to freedom in a desperate attempt to avoid further painful procedures forced upon their bodies against their will,” Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst said on social media.
“These are the hidden faces behind animal experimentation in this country.”
The animals were, according to 7 News, being used by the hospital for research.
In 2016, a spokesperson for the hospital said the baboons were used for tests that would contribute to the development of treatments of new disorders.
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