Five zebras roaming Maryland’s lawns have become “local celebrities” after escaping a farm in Prince George’s County a month ago.
The pesky fugitives lived on a private ranch in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, until they escaped on Aug. 31 — and have been roaming Maryland’s vast grasslands ever since.
The five are part of a zeal – a group of zebras – of 39 who live on a private ranch owned by Jerry Holly. The animals were brought to the farm almost two weeks before their escape.
Now they offer free entertainment to residents who are shocked to see the black and white striped animals, rather than the usual deer, which roam the lawns and roadsides.
‘Are you crazy? Why should there be zebras?’ Alexis Curling asked her daughter Layla, who ran upstairs to tell her mother about the strange intruders in the backyard, according to… The New York Times.
Five zebras (only four in picture) have been loose in Prince George’s County, Maryland for a month after escaping from a private ranch
Farm owner Jerry Holly raised 39 zebras two weeks before the five escapees from Florida, according to the county’s Animal Services Division.
But Layla was not wrong, there were five zebras roaming around their garden in Prince George’s County.
It even came as a surprise to the head of the county’s Animal Care Department.
“When I first heard about it, I thought, ‘Okay, you’re kidding, right? Zebras?’ Rodney Taylor told The New York Times. In his 39 years with the division, he had never received a call about a zebra.
Taylor didn’t know why Holly kept zebras in Maryland, far from their East African origin. The animals were recently raised about two weeks before their escape from Florida.
Most residents didn’t even know that in the past Holly was home to such exotic animals, including black-handed spiders, monkeys, dromedaries, mandrills, red kangaroos, and brown lemurs — not even Curling, who lives three miles from Holly.
Taylor confirmed to the Times that Holly is licensed for the animals by the US Department of Agriculture.
The exotic creatures have flooded social media since their escape. It has become a phenomenon as the locals document every move of the zebras.
These ‘local celebrities’ are popping up in citizens’ backyards and along the road
A Princeton zoology professor suspects the zebras will be fine when it gets colder if they continue to dodge the catch
Joshua DuBois, who headed the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under Obama, saw the animals after his son did.
He promptly made a U-turn, according to DNYUZ, and captured a video of two zebras wandering peacefully by the side of the road.
‘Today August (6) [his child] asks me to go fishing before sunset. On the way home he calmly says “Daddy I saw the zebras”‘
“Something tells me he really thinks he’s seen them. So I do a U on Croom Road, pull on a guy’s driveway and… BAM. WILD MARYLAND ZEBRAS,” he wrote on Twitter.
Holly slowly built an enclosed feeding station for the animals to catch them, Taylor said, but they were too smart to be corralled. it’s unclear how they escaped to begin with.
A zoology professor at Princeton University Daniel Rubenstein said he wasn’t surprised the animals are still free, because they “don’t like people in general.”
Rubenstein said the animals would do fine in the colder weather if they keep escaping the catch, but “won’t like the snow.”
DailyMail.com tried to contact Prince George and Jerry Holly’s County Animal Service Division, but were unsuccessful.