The Unexpected Wild Life of New Jersey

There’s a baboon loose in New Jersey.

Those are words I’ve always dreamed of typing, but never thought I’d be able to, outside of fiction.

According to the AP, he (I’ve decided he’s a male baboon, for no particular reason, but I see him as a young guy with an adventurous spirit) was first spotted by a driver near the highway on June 30.

That moment is really worth imagining. You are in New Jersey, driving along a highway like any other highway in the country, and you glance over. You are driving quickly, of course, so when a shape catches your eye, you have to do a double take, but still, you’re not sure, was that a…baboon?

Too fantastic.

But even more fantastic was the second eyewitness quoted in the article, who said that she found the baboon sitting on her porch.

Also not what you’d expect in New Jersey. At least I wouldn’t.

They suspect that the baboon escaped from a Six Flags Great Adventure’s Monkey Jungle, but officials there can’t be sure, since, according to the article, they don’t count the monkeys daily.

Now my feeling is that if you are a place housing a lot of monkeys, and a monkey is somehow wandering the streets and backyards of the surrounding area, you might take a moment for a head count.

But that’s just me.

I wonder if that baboon has ever known Africa, if it wonders where the veldt has gone (yes, I’ve also decided it’s a baboon from Southern Africa). I wonder what he’s eating, if he’s lowered himself to rodents or figured out that those rectangular thingies are filled with food scraps.

I wonder if he was sitting on that woman’s porch because they line up for meals at the monkey park.

Or if he thought it would be funny.

I’d rather think that he thought it would be funny.

I wonder if he knows how to get back into the park, and he’s just out for a stroll.

How long can a baboon survive the wilds of New Jersey? Leopards and hyenas are rare, so I think his odds are pretty good.


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