Australia

Three baboons captured near Sydney hospital were on their way to a vasectomy

A still from a Facebook video showing the baboons. Source: Facebook

Police have confirmed that three baboons - which were spotted running outside the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney's inner west on Tuesday evening - have been captured.

Three baboons have been captured after they escaped while being transported to a vasectomy operation at a hospital in Sydney's inner west.

Just before 5.30pm, officers from the Inner West Police Area Command were called to a car park on the corner of Missenden Rd and Lucas St, near the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital in Camperdown.

NSW Police confirmed that the "troop of baboons" had been contained shortly before 7pm. 

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a 15-year-old male baboon was being taken to the research facility for a vasectomy so he could continue living with his female troop. Two female members of the group were there to "keep him calm", he said.

"It had been decided the male needed to have a vasectomy to continue to move with his female troop and not keep producing babies," Mr Hazzard added.

"If he had been kept fertile he would have had to moved from the family he knows."

After breaking loose from the transport truck due to a faulty lock, the baboons were contained by police and medical experts before handlers from Taronga Zoo tranquillised them.

Earlier, an RPA employee, who did not wish to be named, said hospital staff had been told to remain in the building while a team from the zoo travelled to the location. 

There is a medical research facility within RPA hospital where it's believed testing is done on animals.

Animal activist and former GP Kevin Coleman said it's a "major concern" the primates escaped.

"If an animal the size of a baboon can escape, how many mice have escaped, how many other animals have escaped?" he said. "We just don't know and this is the problem. We have to have transparency on these issues."

Meanwhile, the Sydney Save Animals in Laboratories spokesman said he believes experts are undertaking research into human-baboon hybrid organs to address the transplant crisis.

It's not the first time wild animals have traversed the inner-city suburb.

In 2014, two water buffalo escaped from a film set and sauntered up busy King St, chasing pedestrians as they went. 

The buffalo were eventually contained on the corner of Carillon Ave and Missenden Rd, the same street where the baboons were sighted. 

With additional reporting from AAP

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