Maryland Authorities Now Attempting To Use More Zebras To Capture Runaway Zebras

Zebras running in a field

Back at the beginning of September, when news broke that a group of zebras had busted loose in suburban Maryland, most people thought the story would end pretty quickly with the zebras being corralled and returned to the farm from which they escaped.

2021 seems to have been a big year for zebra escapes. 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.

That is not what happened at all. Instead, the saga has taken several interesting turns, and the zebras have now been on the run for more than two months. The story’s first weird twist was a member of Congress issuing an alibi denying any involvement setting the zebras free. Unfortunately, her attempt at humor flopped horribly, and she had to issue another statement explaining that it was a joke. Ultimately, her statement did nothing but bring more attention to the fact that zebras were roaming a Maryland neighborhood. 

More than a month into the timeline it authorities had yet to make any progress in capturing the zebras. By that time, the story had generated national attention as tourists, and news reporters from out of town visited the area, hoping to catch a glimpse of the escaped striped animals. Then just last week, reports surfaced that only three zebras had escaped, not five and that only two remained on the loose after one of the zebras was found dead in an illegal snare trap

The most bewildering part of that report is that authorities waited more than a month to make news that one of the zebras had been killed available to the public, and additional questions about that decision remain unanswered.

Simultaneously, more details about the farm from which the zebras escaped became known for the first time as well.

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 has since been charged with animal cruelty as a result of the zebra’s unfortunate death. 

However, it has also been confirmed that the man 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. 

After attempts to both corral and tranquilize the zebras failed to materialize, speculation began about whether or not they could survive long term in the suburbs. With plenty of open farmland and grass for grazing and abundant water sources throughout the area, all indications are yes… they could make themselves quite at home there. So with that, authorities went back to the drawing board to develop a new plan for capturing the animals. 

That plan entails using even more zebras to try and trick the escaped zebras. What could go wrong here? The way this story has been going so far, at this point, I’m half expecting the two runaway zebras to bust the decoy zebras free. That seems more likely than this plan actually working. Maybe next, they could try letting some lions loose in suburban Maryland to see if they can hunt down the escaped zebras?

According to Outdoor Life, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, county Animal Services, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have now solicited help from the farm from the zebras came to devise a plan to lure the two vagabond zebras into an enclosure using their former herd mates as decoys. 

Apparently, two zebras from the farm herd will be placed in an open area surrounded by a hidden corral. Then, through a combination of food and friends, authorities hope to bait the runaway zebras into the corral. 

Only time will tell the zebras will fall for this attempt to capture them, but this idea just might be dumb enough to work. Regardless of how things play out, it’s become clear that some people are actually rooting for the zebras to win this battle of wits though. 

We didn’t have to wait very long for the next exciting twist to this story, though. If the new plans to corral the zebras don’t work, the number of zebras roaming free could soon jump back up to three. Reports are now surfacing that one of the zebras on the loose might be pregnant.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock