The pesky fugitives were living on a private farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, until they busted out August 31 – and they have been wandering the vast grasslands of Maryland ever since.
The five are a part of a zeal – a group of zebras – of 39 living on a private farm, owned by Jerry Holly. The animals were brought to the farm nearly two weeks before their escape.
Now, they provide free entertainment to residents who are shocked to see the black and white striped animals, instead of the usual deer, roaming on lawns and roadsides.
‘Are you crazy? Why would there be zebras?’ Alexis Curling asked her daughter Layla, who ran upstairs to tell her mother about the odd backyard intruders, according to The New York Times.
Five zebras (only four pictured) have been on the loose in Prince George’s County, Maryland for a month now after they escaped from a private farm
Farm owner Jerry Holly has 39 zebras, brought up from Florida two weeks before the five escaped, according to the county’s Animal Services Division
But Layla wasn’t wrong, there were five zebras walking around their yard in Prince George’s County.
It came as a surprise even to the chief of the county’s Animal Services Division.
‘When I first heard about it, I was like: ‘Okay, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? Zebras?’ Rodney Taylor told The New York Times. In his 39 years at the division, he had never gotten a call about a zebra.
Taylor didn’t know why Holly was keeping zebras in Maryland, a far cry from their origin of eastern Africa. The animals were recently brought up from Florida roughly two weeks before their escape.
Most residents didn’t even know Holly hosted such exotic animals, which have included black-handed spiders, monkeys, dromedaries, mandrills, red kangaroos, and brown lemurs in the past – not even Curling, who lives three miles down the road from Holly.
Taylor confirmed to the Times that Holly has a license for the animals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The exotic creatures have flooded social media since their escape. It has become a phenomenon as locals document the zebras’ every move.
These ‘local celebrities’ have been popping up in citizens’ backyards and on roadsides
A Princeton zoology professor suspects the zebras will be okay as colder weather sets in if they continue to evade capture
Joshua DuBois, who led the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under Obama, spotted the animals after his son did.
He promptly did a U-turn, according to DNYUZ, and shot a video of two zebra calmly wandering the roadside.
‘Today August (6) [his child] asks me to go fishing before sunset. On the way home he calmly says “dad I saw the zebras”‘
‘Something tells me he actually thinks he saw them. So I do a U on Croom Road, pulling some guy’s driveway and…BAM. WILD MARYLAND ZEBRAS,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Holly was slowly building an enclosed feeding station for the animals to trap them, according to Taylor, but they were too smart to be corralled. it is unclear how they escaped to begin with.
A zoology professor at Princeton University Daniel Rubenstein said he was not surprised the animals are still free as they ‘don’t like people generally.’
Rubenstein said the animals should do fine in the colder weather if they continue to escape capture, but ‘won’t like the snow.’
DailyMail.com attempted to contact Prince George’s County Animal Service Division and Jerry Holly, but was unable to do so.