For almost four months, two escaped zebras had built a life for themselves in the suburban terrain of Maryland.
They made surprise backyard appearances, much to the delight of residents, and crossed the streets like every other law-abiding citizen. They grazed on fields and pastures and drank from streams.
They also evaded numerous attempts to corral them. But they were finally captured last week, the Maryland Department of the Environment said in a statement on Tuesday.
The two zebras had been among the most wanted residents of Prince George’s County since they escaped with a third zebra from a farm in August.
The third zebra was found dead in a snare trap a month after the escape, the Maryland Natural Resources Police said in October. All three animals had been living on a farm owned by Jerry Lee Holly, 76, in Upper Marlboro, Md., according to the authorities.
The details of the capture and the circumstances of their initial escape were still unclear. But the zebras have now been “returned to the herd,” the Department of the Environment said in the statement. The department did not respond to questions on Tuesday.
But what is known is that the monthslong ordeal came to a close on Monday, when the federal Agriculture Department told the Prince George’s County Animal Services Division, which was handling the case, that the zebras had been returned the previous week, the Department of the Environment said.
Neither the Agriculture Department nor the animal services division was “involved in the direct capture of the zebras,” the Department of the Environment said, adding that it was continuing to investigate the case.
The animal services division did not respond to emails or phone calls on Tuesday.
The adventures of the wayward zebras drew widespread attention, with their every move documented on social media. The zebras even inspired a parody account on Twitter, @MarylandZebra.
Another post that afternoon said, “This isn’t over @LarryHogan,” referring to the governor of Maryland.
It is not clear what is next for the zebras or their herd on Mr. Holly’s farm.
While their compatriots were on the loose, a zebra was found dead inside Mr. Holly’s enclosure, the authorities said in October.
He was charged with three counts of animal cruelty, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, county prosecutors said in a charging document in October. The authorities accused Mr. Holly of failing to provide a zebra with food and proper shelter, and of depriving a zebra of necessary sustenance and inflicting unnecessary pain.
Mr. Holly could not be reached on Tuesday at several phone numbers listed under his name.
For the captured zebras, gone are the days when they had unfettered access to the state’s fields, pastures and streams. Unless they escape again, they have ended their run as Maryland’s favorite fugitives.
As @MarylandZebra put it on Tuesday, “We had an amazing time.”