Zebras have been on the loose for more than 10 days in rural Maryland and a team of animal control officers face an unprecedented challenge on how to catch them.
Five of the animals broke free from a private farm in Prince George county more than a week ago and have been roaming neighbourhoods south of Upper Marlboro in a search for food.
While the wandering beasts have entertained residents and sparked an impromptu safari and a flood of social media posts, their presence has caused a headache for county officials.
“You can’t hunt them down. They’re just too fast, they run, they won’t let you get near them,” Rodney Taylor, chief of Prince George county’s animal services department told WJLA news.
“We do have a feeding station set up, and we’re winning their confidence. They eat there every morning between 2am and 4am.”
Taylor told the station that authorities planned to box in the zebras by erecting panels around the feeding station, where they can be tranquilised and returned to the farm. But, he said, corralling the unpredictable creatures was a delicate operation.
The zebras, part of a larger herd of 39 that reportedly arrived from Florida at the private farm in Upper Marlboro last month, broke free from their enclosure just over a week ago.
The farm’s owner, identified by Taylor as Jerry Holly, is licensed to keep exotic animals according to US Department of Agriculture records.
According to WJLA, the farm also had black-handed spider monkeys, dromedaries, mandrills, red kangaroos, brown lemurs, capybaras and gibbons as recently as 2018.