Officers and animal control personnel were led on a wild goose — make that zebra — chase Wednesday afternoon after two of the exotic equines escaped a local ranch.
New Braunfels Police Department received a call around 4:45 p.m. about zebra sightings on the west side of New Braunfels and dispatched officers. A two-and-a-half hour zebra-chase ensued, resulting in the capture of one of the zebras.
“The first one was tranquilized and air lifted out, over near the jail site close to the train tracks by Loop 337,” said David Ferguson, public information officer for NBPD. “Tranquilizers usually take about 10 minutes to kick in — that zebra’s heart rate was going so high it was probably about 20 minutes.”
At the time of the first zebra’s capture, police weren’t sure exactly where the pair came from.
“We’ve heard they were raised on a ranch outside of the city and earlier today someone bought the zebras and put them on their property, thinking the Guadalupe was a natural barrier that would keep them in,” Ferguson said. “We understand the zebras got loose by swimming across the Guadalupe River and made a run for it across the city.”
The NBPD was assisted by a helicopter team that specializes in safely trapping animals.
“We got him in the trailer. He’s in custody — and he already has his stripes,” one official was overheard saying on his radio after the first zebra was successfully captured.
The second zebra is still at large. Police have called off an air search for the evening for safety reasons.
“We will resume an air search in the morning, if necessary — we will still be monitoring calls for the zebra’s whereabouts,” Ferguson said. “If you spot a zebra, call NBPD at 830-221-4100.”