There’s one less free-range zebra on the loose in Maryland.
One of the three striped animals that broke out of a private farm in August has been found dead, caught in an illegal snare trap.
The zebras, which have been roaming and grazing in the Upper Marlboro area since they bolted, have become a nationwide source of fascination as they elude wildlife officials for months.
While two are still on the run, the body of their friend was found on private property in September, although the death was only confirmed by county officials Thursday.
Lauren Moses, a spokeswoman for the state’s Natural Resources Police, told the Washington Post illegal snare traps are typically used to catch smaller animals, and that it is not clear who set it. “We think it was roaming and got caught in the snare,” Moses told the paper.
The cruel traps are usually barbed-wire or cable nooses that are anchored somewhere. The animal runs over the trap, the noose tightens around the body, neck or limb of the animal, and the animal is then unable to escape.
The zebra saga started when the trio bolted from a 30-strong herd in late August from an 80-acre farm.
“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 the ABC affiliate WJLA news.
The county said in its statement Thursday that the zebra caretakers are feeding two of the herd’s animals in a corral to “help draw the loose zebras back into the herd.”