Two runaway zebras are back home with private owners in Wisconsin after taking a stroll on a rural highway – but a handful of their striped compatriots remain on the lam in Maryland after a separate breakout.
September has been an unusual month for zebra escapes in America. More than two weeks ago, five zebras managed to flee a private farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland – and they’ve yet to be recovered. Halfway across the country, two more in Wisconsin escaped their rural home and became hooved highway traffic, much to the amusement of a passing garbage truck driver who captured them on video.
“My God, there’s literally zebras walking down the road,” said David Haupt as he filmed the encounter. “I’m not even kidding: what in the actual ...”
He added: “I’m on an African safari in a garbage truck, good Lord,” added Haupt.
The Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department said the two zebras were quickly returned to their owners, who were not identified.
“Well, it’s not the first exotic animal call we’ve gotten, every once in a while you get something different, but yeah having a garbage truck driver call you and say ‘well, there are two zebras in the road,’ is a bit unusual,” Sgt. Nathan Borman told WBAY.
All has not been resolved as quickly in Maryland, however, where the zebras made their getaway at the beginning of the month. They share the farm with more than three dozen others and it’s still not known how they escaped.
But the sightings have continued, with one aghast resident sharing new footage this weekend that was taken on Friday.
Prince George’s County Animal Services Chief Rodney Taylor told the BBC that the striped escape artists were particularly hard to catch.
"’You can’t hunt them down,” he said. “They’re just too fast, they run, they won’t let you get near them."
Mr Taylor said a feeding station had been set up for the animals and authorities hoped they could eventually be recaptured nearby, tranquillised and returned to their farm.
He did not immediately return requests for comment from The Independent about the progress of the search on Sunday.
In the meantime, sightings continue as residents first mistake them for horses or deer or other animals, not expecting to see equine African safari natives in their East Coast backyards.
Even so, Layla Curling, 10, found it hard to persuade her mother.
"I thought it was a deer for about three seconds, and then I noticed it was actually a zebra,” Layla Curling, 10, told local 7 News.
When she told her mother, “She said I was crazy and stuff,” the child continued. “She believed me after we looked out the bathroom window.”