Baboon on the run in South Jersey

Posted: July 02, 2011

JACKSON, N.J. - A wayward baboon remained on the loose Friday night in South Jersey, causing some concern among local residents but creating a buzz among numerous online followers who were closely following the animal's travels.

Three new sightings were reported Friday in residential areas, one day after the baboon was first sighted near a major highway and later in the backyard of a local home. The animal was then spotted on a local golf course late Friday afternoon, but it ran off into woods before it could be tranquilized.

All the sightings were in areas not far from Six Flags Great Adventure's Monkey Jungle in Jackson Township, leading to speculation that the baboon may have escaped from the park, which has 150 of the primates.

"We can't say for sure where the baboon came from, but we are probably certain that it is ours," Kristen Siebeneicher, the park's communications director, said Friday night.

Police and park officials had started looking for the baboon on Thursday afternoon, after a driver saw it near I-95 in the Ocean County community. A short time later, a woman reported that the baboon was sitting on her back porch.

Three more residents reported seeing the baboon in their neighborhoods on Friday, including one who told police the animal "was in a full run" down the street shortly after noon.

Meanwhile, tongue-in-cheek Twitter accounts created by users tweeting as the baboon had quickly drawn numerous followers. The posters shared wisecracks and humorous anecdotes of the baboon's travels.

Among the posted remarks was one stating: "I mean Six Flags is cool and all, but I'm ready for a vacation - Let's do this." Another read: "I'm told NJ's state mammal is the horse. Well, we'll just see about that."

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