Runaway Zebra in Maryland Found Dead in Illegal Snare

by Matthew Memrick

Officials found a dead runaway zebra that had escaped from a Maryland farm in August after an illegal snare killed the animal.

The zebra had been one of three that left a private farm in Maryland recently. According to The New York Post, the animals roamed throughout the Upper Marlboro area and, despite numerous sightings, wildlife officials couldn’t bring them all in.

Some Twitter users took to social media and created Twitter accounts for the zebras. 

So, with one down, two are still on the lam. 

How One Zebra Died

The zebra death happened on Sept. 16 on private property, but officials only released the information this week.

Lauren Moses, a spokeswoman for the state’s Natural Resources Police, told the Washington Post that illegal snare traps focus on getting smaller animals. However, Moses could not say who set the trap. 

Moses said officials surmised that the roaming zebra found its way to the snare and died during a struggle to get free. According to National Public Radio, Prince George’s County and six other counties forbid the traps. There are 95 Virginia counties.

In many cases, illegal barbed wire or cable traps are common. Hunters fashion them into nooses and set anchors. When the animal runs over the trap, the noose tightens to trap the animal. The animal often dies from starvation or strangulation. 

Human Society of the United States officials expressed outrage over the animal’s death.

PEOPLE reported that Maryland director Jennifer Bevan-Dangel condemned the “terrible fate of this zebra” Friday.

“The sad fate of this zebra underscores the seriousness of this issue — both from the cruelty of captive exotic animal ownership and operations to the dangerous and barbaric use of traps,” she said in the statement.

Dangel talked about the dangerousness of these traps, saying that people and pets often fall victim to them. She urged authorities to outlaw these “cruel and indiscriminate snare traps across the state.”

There is an investigation into the trap’s creator.

Zebras On The Loose

The zebra trio took off from a 30-strong herd in late August. The animals had been on an 80-acre farm.

Those who attempted to capture the three often came home empty-handed.

“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.

One way of luring the two back included taking two of the herd and feeding them in a corral.

Officials said the zebra caretakers were hoping to “draw the loose zebras back” that way. 

Vice Magazine reported another two zebras had escaped recently from a zoo and pumpkin patch in Pingree Grove, Illinois. Unfortunately, they returned home after two hours, according to the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald.