A zebra was fatally shot in Germany this week, after escaping from the circus and running onto a local highway.
On Wednesday morning, two zebras escaped from Circus Barlay, a traveling circus which was in the northeastern town Tessin at the time, The Guardian reported.
Although one of the animals was captured, the “second zebra remained missing for hours,” Rostock district police said in a press release.
Around 8:00 a.m. local time, the animal was spotted on a nearby highway “where it caused an accident between two cars,” although there were no reported injuries.
Authorities went on to close the highway in an attempt to capture the animal, and during this time “a police officer was injured in pursuit,” and two cars were damaged: a vehicle the animal “ran across the hood of,” as well as a police car.
When the zebra was spotted again in a nearby field, “the circus trainer responsible for the animal tried to bring the zebra under control,” although they were not successful, according to police. The animal control branch of the Rostock Fire Department was also called to the scene.
“After a traffic accident, several instances of property damage and several unsuccessful attempts to capture the animal, the animal was shot with one shot in the area,” police said, noting that “the precise circumstances leading to the need to shoot are not clear.”
A spokesperson for Rostock city authorities told The Guardian in a statement that a tranquilizer dart had not been an option as the “uncontainable zebra” posed a threat and had to be shot from far away.
However, a witness told German newspaper Die Welt, “there was no danger,” according to the outlet.
“He was exhausted, his head was down,” she added.
Trainers for the animal, called Pumba, told EuroNews they were “devastated” by the zebra’s death.
“Everybody burst into tears,” Carla Jenkins told the outlet. “We didn’t know they wanted to shoot him. We would have done anything. Really anything to stop that man.”
“We are devastated. It is such a big loss for our family. He was a really good animal,” she added.
The owners of Circus Barlay have said they will press charges against the person responsible for the zebra’s death, The Guardian reported.