Five zebras run free in Maryland


The great zebra escape began on August 31, when five of the animals fled a farm in Prince George County, Maryland, near the town of Upper Marlboro. The Washington Post reports that the unidentified owner of the farm is trying to bait and lock up the animals, which turn out to be very elusive and are scattered and roam the wooded area southeast of Washington DC.

“They’ve been out and they’re still on the loose,” says Rodney Taylor, head of Prince George’s Animal Services Division, in a simple if not particularly helpful assessment of the situation. “We haven’t caught them yet.

Taylor says owners in the area have reported sightings of skittish Maryland zebras, with every caller understandably stunned to see them. Taylor inspected the farm where the zebras escaped, but did not find out how the animals escaped. The farm legally has a herd of 31 zebras, minus five who are currently on the loose.

“When I first heard about this, I was like, ‘OK, you’re kidding me, aren’t you? Zebras? ‘ Taylor says. During his 39 years in animal control, Taylor has occasionally had to surround a cow or other farm animal. But never a zebra. He warned locals to call county officials if they see the zebras and not to try to approach or catch the animals.

“Never approach them or try to stroke them,” Taylor advised. “They are not going to chase you. But they are zebras, so they are not handled by people much, so to defend themselves they might bite.

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Taylor said the zebras are easy to scare them off, so the animal’s owner has set up video cameras to monitor an area he’s trying to bait them with grain. He gradually adds a few fence panels after each visit to eventually surround the area and trap the animals.

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