ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- Police used their only clue _ a banana peel _ to charge an Ellicott City amusement park worker with cruelty to animals in the suspected strychnine poisoning death of a 45-pound baboon.
Howard County police said they think the animal was fed a poisoned banana.
The baboon's carcass is now in the deep freeze in a veterinarian's office.
The Hamadryas baboon was found last week convulsing in its cage outside the reptile house at Enchanted Forest.
Dr. Stuart Myers, a veterinarian who examined the baboon, said it 'had the classical symptoms of strychnine poisoning.'
Joseph Selby of Ellicott City, an Enchanted Forest employee, was charged with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or both.
Police, investigating the case, said they unearthed their only clue _ the banana peel _ because the suspect allegedly slipped up.
'Whoever poisoned the baboon put poison on the peeled banana and gave it to the animal, the person being unfamiliar with the fact that the baboon normally would eat' skin and all, the police report said. The discarded peel found near the cage led police to believe the banana had been been poisoned.
The exact cause of death, however, has not yet been officially determined because the animal's owner did not want an autopsy performed.