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Zebras On The Lam Are Dazzling Suburban Maryland

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

While many DC reporters are focused on the White House or Capitol Hill, news of a different stripe has been grabbing attention.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Five zebras are on the loose in the D.C. suburbs in Prince George's County, Md.

CORNISH: The dazzle - that's what you call a group of zebras, by the way - were owned legally and escaped from a farm in the area. And for the last month, they've been dazzling residents with surprise sightings.

DAVON BENNETT: I look over. I see, like, three zebras right here. And I'm like, are my eyes playing tricks on me? Do I have my glasses off?

CORNISH: That's Davon Bennett talking to local Fox 5 after the zebras showed up in his backyard.

FADEL: They've been seen running across roads and bounding out of woods.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KEITH TURNER: Got a video this morning of the zebras. Them bad boys ran right across the street.

FADEL: Keith Turner caught a cameo on his phone.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TURNER: I'm getting kind of close to them. They running. They running. They running.

CORNISH: County animal services - well, they're aware of the situation. But catching a zebra is tricky. I mean, they spook easily.

FADEL: As for who might have helped the zebras escape?

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON: Hands up - I didn't do it.

FADEL: D.C.'s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has been jokingly accused. She's been very anti-fence, wanting to remove barriers put up around D.C. after the January 6 attacks. And while she swears she didn't do it, Norton thinks maybe she inspired them.

HOLMES NORTON: And they said, look; if she can get those fences down, we don't want to be fenced in either.

CORNISH: For Norton and many others in D.C., the zebras have become a metaphor for D.C. statehood.

HOLMES NORTON: I represent a city where there is no consent of the governed. And the zebras say, guess what? There's no consent to keep us caged in, either.

CORNISH: You hear that, America? Norton says Washington, D.C., is ready to be a state. Just ask the zebras - that's if they ever get caught.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DON'T FENCE ME IN")

BING CROSBY AND THE ANDREWS SISTERS: (Singing) Oh, give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.