No One Can Catch Those Zebras on the Loose in Maryland

Group of 5 escaped from farm in Prince George's County in late August
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2021 11:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 1, 2021 8:16 AM CDT

Update: Five fugitive zebras that made headlines after escaping from a Maryland farm in late August are "still out there, roaming free." That's the latest from the Washington Post, which notes multiple sightings over the past few weeks in Prince George's County. The Baltimore Sun reports that three of the zebras have been sticking together, while the remaining two have paired up in their wanderings. And if the creatures continue to dodge authorities? "They should be able to do just fine" surviving in the area, a Princeton zoology professor tells the Post. Our original story from Sept. 10 follows:

First there were three. Now "the search is on" for at least five zebras on the loose in Maryland, where sightings of the striped fugitives have been taking place for more than a week. "I thought my mind was playing tricks on me," 10-year-old Layla Curling tells FOX 5 of her reaction when she spotted a few zebras behind her Upper Marlboro home on Sept. 2. Layla's mom, Alexis Curling, says to the New York Times: "Why would there be zebras?" But zebras they were, and the Curlings weren't the only ones who'd seen the dazzle—a word used to describe a bunch of zebras—showing up in yards, fields, and along the roadsides in Prince George's County.

Per the Washington Post, county animal services officials have received multiple calls reporting zebra sightings. Rodney Taylor, head of the county's Animal Services Division, tells the Times the zebras have been traced to a private farm in Upper Marlboro—about 3 miles from the Curlings' home—owned by one Jerry Holly. The animals apparently escaped on Aug. 31. Taylor notes that Holly has a license from the USDA to keep zebras, though Taylor's not sure why Holly has them; they'd been brought from Florida a couple of weeks ago.

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Taylor notes that Holly's farm is trying to trap the zebras by luring them to a feeding station, which could take as long as a week. In the meantime, he advises anyone who sees the zebras to not chase them or otherwise approach them, as they're easily spooked. He tells the Post that in his nearly four decades in animal control, the zebras are a bizarre first, noting, "This one ranks up there." (More zebras stories.)

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