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The tale of the Maryland zebras run amok has taken a tragic turn: One of the escaped creatures died last month after it was caught in a snare trap, officials revealed Thursday.
While, yes, everything ends in death, this particular update seemed to shock the nation’s conscience—spurring national headlines and sorrowful tweets. The zebras had, in a way, come to represent a country’s shared desire to break free in a time of global catastrophe, or, at the very least, offered a nice distraction. The mischievous pack fled a private farm in Upper Marlboro in August and have somehow evaded capture for more than a month.
The fun came crashing down this week. Though we were all led to believe five zebras were out there having a good time in the suburbs, a spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment said just three zebras had gotten loose all along, according to the New York Times. Also, one of them was dead, the Maryland Natural Resources Police chimed in to say. Officers discovered it in a snare trap near a field on Sept. 16, according to a spokesperson for the agency.
How the zebra lived, who it was, and why it took officials a month to disclose it was dead—who knows.
It’s also illegal to use snare traps in seven Maryland counties, including Prince George’s, according to NPR.
Regardless, the chief of the county’s animal control agency believes the escaped zebras are close to being caught, the Washington Post reported earlier this week.
The bad news for animal anarchists doesn’t end there. The two gutsy zebras that escaped a zoo at a pumpkin patch in Pingree Grove, Illinois, last week? They were also returned home after a two-hour chase, according to the Daily Herald, a local paper for Chicago’s suburbs.
Consider this: What do the zebras know, and why do they want out so bad? Hopefully, before this saga is over, we will get some answers.