Illinois police scrambled to detain a pair of zebras who escaped from the zoo at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard in Pingree Grove.
The bizarre chase lasted for nearly two hours and involved troopers from the Illinois State Police, Hampshire and Pingree Grove police officers, and deputies from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was pretty exciting for a while,” Jacob Goebbert, an employee of the farm, said. “It was all hands on deck.”
Kane County sheriff’s deputies were called first after a report of zebras on the highway. The animals – a male and a female – had escaped from a pen in the indoor zoo at the pumpkin patch, leaving by the building’s rear doors.
The zebras, which are owned and supplied by another business, were spotted wandering outside by customers at the pumpkin patch. The animals then crossed Route 47, wandering north through farm fields and eventually near the I-90, which brought the Illinois State Police into the equation.
A passenger in a car even captured the strange sight on a TikTok video. “They look like zebras. They got stripes (pause). They are!” the driver says as the zebras galloped across the highway.
Undersheriff Pat Gengler said they’re used to all sorts of escaped animals, but it was a first for catching zebras.
“We’re used to (loose) cows, horses, all kinds of livestock. We’ve had emus — emus! — over the years, because there is an emu farm up that way. How do we catch zebras? They didn’t teach us that at the (police) academy,” he joked.
Gengler said that police blocked traffic in the area several times as they were concerned either the animals would be hit by a car or would cause an accident by distracting drivers.
With the sun going down, police were also worried the animals would be able to hide in the cornfields.
Fortunately, the animals were caught and returned after nearly a 2-hour chase.
Goebbert’s zoo workers followed the animals on ATVs, catching one alongside Big Timber, and the other nearby a fenced-in pasture off Sandwald Road.
“We’re grateful for all the help,” Goebbert said. He added that the zebras were not injured.