On Aug. 31, three cunning zebras made a daring escape from an exotic animal breeding farm called Jerry Holly Exotics in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The zebras became a national symbol of enduring freedom as they roamed the streets and backyards of suburban Maryland.
Twitter accounts such as @MarylandZebras have given voice to the zebras, responding with enthusiasm to job offers to referee football games and suggestions that the zebras are "entrepreneurs" rather than fugitives. The zebras on Twitter have also been providing weather updates, taunting the Prince George County animal control department and responding to invitations to visit other counties.
The zebras also have inspired some crazy 911 calls and human impersonators who dress up as zebras in the hopes of catching a glimpse or video of them.
The escaped zebras have tapped into something larger than themselves as they continued to gallop freely for almost two months, evading capture. That is, until now.
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An investigation by NPR found that one of the zebras was reportedly found dead on Sep. 16 in an illegal snare trap, according to Prince George County authorities.
Whether the dead zebra will get justice remains to be seen, but officials at Prince George are investigating, according to The Washington Post.
Zebras all over the world are under threat as agricultural practices and competition with livestock cause habitat loss, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. Sadly, zebras are also still hunted for meat and their dazzling striped coats.
Zebras are meant to travel long distances, says the AWF, and African zebras regularly migrate north all the way from Tanzania’s Serengeti plains to Kenya. Zebras also communicate in various ways, snorting indicate happiness and pressing their ears against their head when they feel threatened.
The San Diego Zoo says that zebras are able to run over 35 miles per hour and have excellent hearing and eyesight, perhaps making it easier for them to evade capture. A zebra's stripes are also an evolutionary advantage that allows a dazzle (a zebra-specific term for herd) of zebras to confuse predators when standing in a formation where their stripes blend together.
Michelle Shen is a Money & Tech Digital Reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her @michelle_shen10 on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Escaped Maryland zebra gets caught in a snare trap and dies