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News / Northwest

Escaped zebra captured near Seattle after gallivanting around Cascade mountain foothills for days

By Associated Press
Published: May 4, 2024, 4:35pm
3 Photos
This photo provided by the Regional Animal Services of King County shows the zebra Shug in a trailer after it was captured Friday, May 3, 2024, in Riverbend, Wash., about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Seattle. The zebra was one of four that escaped as they were being transported from Washington to Montana last Sunday.
This photo provided by the Regional Animal Services of King County shows the zebra Shug in a trailer after it was captured Friday, May 3, 2024, in Riverbend, Wash., about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Seattle. The zebra was one of four that escaped as they were being transported from Washington to Montana last Sunday. (Regional Animal Services of King County via AP) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE (AP) — A zebra that has been hoofing through the foothills of western Washington for days was recaptured Friday evening, nearly a week after she escaped with three other zebras from a trailer near Seattle.

Local residents and animal control officers corralled the zebra named “Shug” in the community of Riverbend, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Seattle, the Regional Animal Services of King County wrote on its website.

“The zebra seemed to be in good condition despite her nearly week-long adventure in the woods,” the agency wrote.

Shug was one of four zebras that escaped as they were being transported from Washington to Montana last Sunday. The driver had taken the Interstate 90 exit for North Bend, in the Cascade mountain foothills about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Seattle, to secure the trailer, when the animals got loose — surprising residents and drivers as they galloped into a rural neighborhood.

Three were quickly captured after being corralled in a pasture. But the fourth — a mare who was initially dubbed “Z” — hopped a fence and disappeared. Shug’s adventure quickly captured public attention, spawning social media memes that placed the animal everywhere from riding a ferry across Puget Sound to rounding the bases at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.

But there were more credible sightings elsewhere: Some area residents spotted Shug on their trail cameras, and that sparked some concerns since the cameras also recently captured cougars in the area.

Earlier Friday, King County officials closed off trail access points along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail in the Boxley Creek Natural Area, where the zebra seemed to be frequenting. People trying to see the zebra there may have been spooking it, making it harder to recapture, they said. Feeding zones were set up to help coax the animal out for a rescue.

Owner Kristine Keltgen previously told The Seattle Times she bought the zebras in Lewis County, Washington, and was bringing them to a petting zoo she runs near Anaconda, in southwestern Montana. She had been on the road for about two hours when she noticed one of the trailer’s floor mats was flapping and dragging behind her. When she opened the door to adjust the mat, the zebras ran out. Several people stopped to help corral the animals, including a rodeo clown and horse trainers, but Shug had managed to elude those attempts.

Shug will now be transported to Montana to join the rest of the dazzle, or group, of zebras, Regional Animal Services of King County said.

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