SAN ANTONIO – A monkey that escaped Monday afternoon at San Antonio International Airport has arrived at a San Antonio area wildlife sanctuary, the sanctuary posted to Facebook Monday night.
Initially, the primate was reported to be a baboon, but has since been identified as a rhesus macaque.
The monkey, which is named Dawkins, spent nearly two hours on the loose. Dawkins was tranquilized and put back in a cage and taken to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in La Salle County.
The animal was flown on an American Airlines flight from Brown University. An American Airlines spokesperson says the shipment traveled from Boston's Logan Airport through Chicago to San Antonio.
The monkey somehow escaped his cage while being transported to cargo. He was cornered in the baggage handling area outside Terminal B.
Airport spokesperson Rich Stinson said San Antonio International Airport is only one of four airports with a wildlife biologist on staff.
In addition to the airport's biologist, Animal Care Services staff were called to assist. A spokesperson from Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc. said the nonprofit organization also sent a veterinarian to help.
Stinson said no flights or passengers were affected and said the monkey was never in the terminal or near passengers. It was always contained in the secure baggage hold area.
American Airlines issued the following statement:
“After the arrival of American Airlines 1014 from Chicago O’Hare, a monkey that was en route to a local animal sanctuary and refuge in the San Antonio-area inadvertently became free of his cage. He is currently in an isolated area where it is safe, away from all of our team members and customers.
We are working closely with the San Antonio Aviation Department and officials from the San Antonio Zoo. Officials from the zoo are now onsite to ensure his safety and wellbeing as he continues his journey to his new home at the primate sanctuary.”
Brown University issued the following statement:
"On Monday, May 21, Brown’s animal care staff learned that an enclosure holding a rhesus macaque en route to a sanctuary in Texas came open upon arrival to the airport in San Antonio. As part of Brown’s commitment to the highest standards of animal health and safety, the University’s animal care professionals actively seek homes for non-human primates who are retired from research protocols. The macaque that en route to Texas when its enclosure became open was being transported from Brown to an animal sanctuary as part of the University’s commitment to animal well-being."
Zoo veterinarians and staff administered care to the animal after it was successfully crated. Shortly thereafter, the macaque named “Dawkins” was transferred safely to its owner. pic.twitter.com/7kZNOz3zXB— San Antonio Zoo & Zoo School🦏 (@SanAntonioZoo) May 21, 2018
San Antonio Zoo sprung into action this afternoon after we received a call about a loose Rhesus macaque at the San Antonio airport. While the primate did not belong to the zoo, we felt it was our responsibility to provide expertise in handling the safe recovery of this animal.— San Antonio Zoo & Zoo School🦏 (@SanAntonioZoo) May 21, 2018