Baboon killed after being on the loose for over two weeks in Taiwan
A baboon that was on the loose in Taiwan for two weeks has been killed in an incident that has drawn criticism for the local administration.
The olive baboon appeared in Taoyuan’s Pingzhen district on 10 March, reported Taiwan News. A team led by Huang Chih-chieh, the borough chief of Zhenxing, tried to capture the animal but failed.
On 23 March, the Taoyuan Department of Agriculture started to hunt for the animal. However, on Monday the animal was shot and killed in Taoyuan’s Yangmei district.
Later on Monday, a licensed hunter surnamed Lin confessed to killing the animal. He is now being investigated.
At a press conference by the Department of Agriculture, Wang Te-chi, the director of the Animal Protection Office said that the baboon was spotted going inside a house on Monday afternoon.
Mr Wang said that when animal control officers arrived outside the house, it was dark inside, and they were unable to locate the animal.
Officers then stepped out to get a flashlight when they found Mr Lin who had one on him and stepped inside and shot the animal.
Officials said that they did not realise that the baboon had been shot and only found it to be injured while transporting it.
Mr Wang said that officers were not aware that Mr Lin was carrying live ammunition.
Wu Hsiu-chen, head of the Taoyuan Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Department, said that the government had not appointed Mr Lin to assist in the search and capture efforts and had not authorised him to open fire.
Mr Lin was questioned by police on Monday and transferred to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday to be investigated for violating the Wildlife Conservation Act.
Chen Kuan-i, director of the Taoyuan Department of Agriculture, told reporters on Tuesday that during the process of tracking down the escaped baboon, some members of the department failed to protect the animal or respect its life by engaging in inappropriate behavior, reported CNA.
The incident has sparked public outrage with many questioning why the officials had not noticed the animal’s injuries, which officials claimed were only found later.
According to a BBC report, Taiwan’s Business Today also noted that locals also took issue with the “flippant” reaction of an agriculture bureau official, who was caught on camera as he photographed the wounded animal, saying, “I want my preschool daughter to be able to tell her classmates, ‘My dad caught the baboon, I didn’t lie to you.’”
Taoyuan’s mayor Simon Chang issued a statement on Tuesday in the face of public criticism and said those responsible would face legal consequences.
“Some of our colleagues did not manage the situation in a prudent and professional manner,” he said.
“They have failed to uphold our respect for animal welfare which is expected of agricultural authorities.”