The Bellevue community has been asked to be on the lookout for a stray zebra that was spotted around the residential area recently.
According to Ashburton veterinarian Mary Anne Fanner, who is part of the team assisting with tracking the zebra’s whereabouts, the animal is a young stallion that belongs to a nearby farm.
“There is a herd of about five of them. This one was kicked out from its herd by an older stallion and has since been in search of a new herd and home,” Fanner told The Witness. The zebra seems to like the look of Bellevue, as he has been spotted frequently roaming the area, often seen heading towards the busy Hesketh Drive.
On Tuesday afternoon the zebra had been spotted walking in Denzil Park. The community’s interest and concern over the whereabouts and safety of the wandering zebra attracted the attention of Bisley wildlife conservation group Friends of Bisley Nature Reserve (FOBNR).
FOBNR chairperson Peter West said he and some members have taken it upon themselves to assist in the capture and relocation of Bellevue’s zebra. “There have been reports over the past few weeks of a zebra roaming the Bellevue area.
This case has been referred to me by the residents because I work with the Bisley Nature Reserve, but I am acting in my own capacity
He added that he has liaised with the owner of the farm where the zebra has disappeared from. “I have established that the owner of the animal would like to have it relocated at his own expense as it continues to escape. I have been in contact with a wildlife capture specialist vet who will undertake the darting and relocation,” said West.
FOBNR volunteers are no strangers to rescue missions that entail tracing and tracking wildlife, often injured or entrapped in snares, and working with wildlife veterinarians to catch and treat animals. West said a team is on the lookout for the zebra and FOBNR members will assist in the capture and relocation of the zebra on Wednesday.
He called on residents to report the zebra’s whereabouts. “Our vet was attending to a case on the South Coast [Tuesday] and will only be available [Wednesday]. Volunteers from Bisley Nature Reserve animal rescue team will assist in the capture and relocation of the zebra.
What is required now is for the vet to be available when the zebra is spotted
West offered the public tips and advice on what to do if they spot the zebra. “The idea is to keep it calm. You must try to keep hidden and keep dogs and people away from the zebra. They tend to attack dogs, but they do not mind vehicles. It can take up to two hours for the team to get into position, so please be patient.
Do not try to herd it into an area or direction. It will panic and charge off. Let it go where it wants to go.” He advised residents to stay on the side of caution and not get too close to the animal. “If you decide to keep watch on the zebra until we get there, stay as far away as possible.”
West stressed that it was vital that he was informed when the zebra was spotted. “If you spot the zebra, it is imperative that you contact me on 061 660 8123. If you can, drop a pin [the location of the zebra] it would be greatly appreciated,” he said