Zebras escape Maryland farm

Abigial Eyler, Staff writer

Zebras were found roaming the streets of Prince George County, Maryland after escaping a farm. They roamed the neighborhood in search of food, water and a pool.

Local officials have tried to catch the zebras, to no avail as the zebras are too quick to catch. Photos and videos of the zebras have been going viral on social media walking through backyards and on the local railroad tracks.

Though the area where the zebras escaped is rural, the zebras have approached local subdivisions, and have been spotted in playgrounds and backyards.

Paul Curling, a resident of Prince George County said he awoke to his daughter shouting, “There’s zebras in our backyard!”

While he thought it was a dream, he later saw the three zebras walking through his backyard playground set.

Many residents of local subdivisions had zebras in their backyards and were told to avoid interactions with the zebras and to contact animal control.

As the zebras are not domesticated, they can bite, kick and will run with any human contact.

The zebras escaped from farmer Jerry Holly’s 300-acre farm, where Holly is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Holly, who is allowed to keep 39 zebras on the farm, had recently received the five zebras from Florida prior to their escape.

According to Chief Rodney Taylor of Animal Services in Prince George County, Animal Services has a plan to catch the zebras.

“We do have a feeding station set up, and we’re winning their confidence. They are eating there every morning between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.,” Taylor said.

He continues to elaborate that eventually Animal Services will add corral panels to eventually capture the zebras. Afterwards, they plan to tranquilize the zebras and return them to Holly’s farm.

Taylor also said that the feeding area was close to the farm, but due to concern that people will try to visit the zebras, the exact location will not be revealed.

Taylor said about spooking the animals in the feeding zone, “If you spook them, you’re just pushing them further out. And that’s when it can get dangerous, they can get out on the highway, [and other] things can happen.”

As the zebras have entered residential communities prior to the setup of the feeding station, Taylor’s concerns stem from how the zebras may act around cars, since they are not domesticated.

Taylor, when speaking about Holly’s farm, said that the farm has had exotic animals throughout the last fifteen years. During that time Animal Services has been called once for the escape of an unnamed animal species from the farm.

As of Sept. 19, the zebras have still been on the loose. Taylor said due to the zebras always being on the lookout for danger, they have been difficult to catch due to instincts to avoid predators in their native habitat.

Taylor said, “They have a powerful warning mechanism, so anything that looks different to them, they can pick it up very quickly… You’re not going to just walk up to them. They’re going to run – and they can run.”

The zebras are still the talk of the town, as many wonder about whether they have been caught and returned, as well as the process of catching them.