Zebras Make ‘Great Escape’ from Illinois Pumpkin Farm

by Jon D. B.

“It was all hands on deck!” Watch as two of Illinois’ resident zebras make a break for it after an “unexplainable” escape from their farm – not the first incident of this kind in 2021.

If you were in Pingree Grove late Sunday afternoon, chances are you saw or heard about a couple of striped horses on the loose that looked an awful lot like zebras. It turns out, however, that those were zebras; loose in Illinois. What a weekend.

Residents of the zoo at the Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard in Pingree Grove, the two iconic equines managed to escape their paddocks and, well, run for the hills.

“It was pretty exciting for a while,” Jacob Goebbert tells the local Daily Herald. Goebbert is an employee of the farm, and says “It was all hands on deck” rounding up the two escapees.

The zebra’s frantic trot found them in the busy traffic of Route 47. And thankfully, although it caused quite a scene, neither were hurt in their escapade. Kane County sheriff’s deputies would dispatch at 5:21 p.m. to the highway to help commuters through the odd experience. The initial report of “zebras in the area” had to be one for the books, for sure.

Local Pingreean Jacqueline M. captured the zebra run, uploading it on TikTok:


Local Pumpkin Patch has some escapees! Goebberts, come get your zebras! 🤣🦓😱 Pingree Grove, IL📍#zebras #barstoolsports #joeexotic

♬ original sound – jacquelynmarieh

“They look like zebras – They got stripes… They are!” Jacqueline exclaims as she drives.

According to Daily Herald, the zebras are a young male and female pair. There’s little detail outside of this, however. Their mysterious escape remains “unexplainable.”

Zebra Run: ‘How Do We Catch Zebras? They Didn’t Teach Us That at the Police Academy’

Oddly, the foreign equines (which are notoriously impossible to domesticate) were being kept in an indoor pen at the zoo and pumpkin farm. Goebbert says they then “snuck out the rear doors” of the building. Doors that are typically locked, he says.

He adds that the zoo has local customers to thank for notifying staff of the escapees.

The effort to contain the zebras would soon become a community effort, too. As the pair moved north, they approached I-90. Illinois State Police were called as a result, alongside Pingree Grove and Hampshire officers.

“We’re used to (loose) cows, horses, all kinds of livestock. We’ve had emus — emus! — over the years, because there is an emu farm up that way,” Undersheriff Pat Gengler tells Daily Herald.

Zebras, however, now that was a first.

“How do we catch zebras? They didn’t teach us that at the (police) academy,” Gengler laughs.

Through the ordeal, officers would block traffic numerous times to protect the frightened animals. A chase on ATVs was then underway, with both authorities and zoo staff taking part.

“We’re grateful for all the help,” Goebbert continues.

All in all, it took two hours to round up and secure the zebras. No injuries would come of their harrowing escape to their kind or ours.

“Luckily, it turned out to be OK,” Gengler offers.

The pair are currently safe back at the zoo. Their escape, however, remains under investigation – and a total mystery – not unlike Maryland’s unbelievable year with the species.