Leofoo Village Theme Park yesterday apologized and said it owned the baboon that had escaped earlier this month and was killed on Monday.
It had earlier denied that the animal came from the park.
The baboon, which had been sighted on the loose in Taoyuan since March 10, was captured on Monday afternoon before dying later in the day from serious injuries.
Multiple parties involved in the attempted capture of the animal have given different and often contradictory accounts over what led to a firearm being discharged at the scene and the baboon being fatally wounded.
During a news conference at the park yesterday, park senior director Yeh Chung-yueh (葉忠岳) bowed and apologized, saying it remained unclear how the baboon had escaped.
Following the incident, the park closed its Wildlife Kingdom zoo area to take stock and assess its facilities, he said.
The park has not decided when the area would reopen to visitors, he said, adding that it might reopen in sections.
The park had checked the baboon enclosure on March 18 and determined that it was secure, Yeh said.
Explaining the park’s initial response that the baboon had not escaped from the park, Yeh said the park’s zoo area covers several hectares with lots of open space, and that taking stock of its animals was challenging.
The park’s senior supervisors would be reprimanded for the oversight, he added.
“Leofoo Village will boost security measures in the zoo area, including the use of a more scientific method to identify and count the number of animals,” he said.
Asked whether the park would pay for the use of public resources to track the animal, Yeh sidestepped the question, saying that the park’s main concern at present was taking stock and ensuring the safety of the animals.
As to whether the animals in the park would be chipped, Yeh said the park’s position was that microchipping was “inhumane,” as it requires the use of tranquilizers.
The park would “consult experts” on how to best track the animals, he added.
Asked whether any other animals had escaped from the park, Yeh said that an investigation was under way.
Separately, the Hsinchu County Agricultural Department said that under the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) there is no legal requirement for wild animals held in captivity to be microchipped.
Rules for wild animals are different from those for pet dogs and cats, which are stipulated in the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), it said.
When it comes to the management of captive wild animals, city and county governments are limited to simply requiring zoos to register the animals, it said.
“We hope the central government will consider amending the law to require that wild animals also be microchipped to prevent a recurrence of incidents like the death of this baboon,” it said.
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