One Of The Zebras Running Loose In Maryland Found Dead

A zebra with a horn on its head

For nearly two months now, stories about the escaped zebras running free through a Maryland suburb have become one of the most fascinating internet sagas in recent memory.

Oddly enough, the ongoing debacle in Maryland hasn’t been the only story about escaped zebras to make headlines in recent months. Earlier this summer, an angry zebra had to be tased while running free down the road next to a middle Tennessee school. More recently, two escaped zebras in Illinois led authorities on a two-hour chase through farm fields and traffic before the animals were captured.

In early September, news broke that a herd of zebras busted loose from a farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a few weeks prior and were evading all attempts to capture them. The zebras started evolving into local celebrities as video clips, and footage of them began popping up all over social media.

The story took a weird twist when a member of Congress issued an alibi denying any involvement setting the zebras free. It was a joke that failed to land and ultimately just generated even more attention for the runaway zebra situation.

As September turned into October, authorities had not made any progress in corralling the zebrasThe vagabond zebra herd had become the talk of the town while tourists from out of town visited the area, hoping to catch a glimpse of the striped animals.

There is now one less zebra running free through Maryland, though. 

According to the New York Times, one of the animals was discovered dead and entangled in an illegal snare trap on private property about 20 miles southeast of Washington, DC. 

Only now, a month later is news of the incident emerging, though. 

Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police issued a statement conveying that officers had responded to a report of a dead exotic animal on September 16th. When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a dead zebra that had been ensnared by the illicit trap. 

While it is apparently legal to own zebras in Prince George’s county, setting snare traps is illegal, and an investigation is now underway. 

“At this time, police do not have any information on who placed the snare trap. 

However, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will assist the Prince George’s County animal facility with this ongoing case.”

When questioned further about why officials chose to wait so long before sharing news about the dead zebra, the spokeswoman referred that question to the Prince George’s County Animal Services agency. Recent calls about the situation have not been responded to. 

Initial reports had indicated that five zebras were on the loose, but recently clarifications report that only three zebras had escaped and been on the run. With one of them now dead, it’s believed there are only two zebras roaming suburban Maryland at this time. 

Reports also indicate that the owners could face charges once the two remaining zebras are captured and returned to the farm from which they escaped. 

“Any further review and action taken by Prince George’s County, including any appropriate charges against the owner, will be evaluated once the zebras return to the herd.”

The escaped zebras were part of a 39 animal herd that had been relocated to the Maryland farm in August. The farm owner has been identified as Jerry Holly, yet reasons for why he had so many zebras on his property have not been determined as the animals were not part of a zoo or other public exhibit. 

Holly does possess the required permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has reportedly housed other exotic animals on his property, including kangaroos, lemurs, capybaras, and several species of primate. 

The plan is still to try and corral the zebras, but with plenty of open farmland and grass for grazing and ample water sources throughout the county, locating the remaining two zebras continues to be a challenge.

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