Sero the zebra breaks free from a zoo and runs through the streets of Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea — A young lonely zebra had a rare day out when he ran away from a zoo in Seoul and trotted around the streets of the South Korean capital, before being sedated and captured a few hours later. 

Sero, a 3-year-old male whose Korean name refers to his vertical stripes, escaped from the Seoul Children’s Grand Park zoo Thursday afternoon by breaking through the wooden deck around his enclosure, according to zoo officials.

In the hours that followed, Sero ran amok in a nearby residential area in eastern Seoul as people looked on in shock. Social media was instantly flooded with photos and videos of the zebra bumping into traffic and galloping through narrow alleyways.

“Watching a video of Sero in the middle of traffic, I was so moved that the drivers were being so careful with our Sero,” Cho Kyung-wook, the head of the animal welfare department at the zoo, told NBC News in a telephone interview Friday. 

A young zebra had a rare day out when he ran away from a zoo in Seoul and trotted around the streets of the South Korean capital, before being sedated and captured a few hours later.
Handlers closing in on Sero the zebra after he was hit with a tranquilizer dart in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. AFP – Getty Images

After Sero was reported missing from the zoo around 3 p.m. local time (2 a.m. Thursday ET), zoo officials, firefighters and police officers began a wild chase across the busy streets of the densely populated city of about 10 million people.

The zebra was eventually cornered and felled by a tranquilizer dart, after which he was brought home safely around 6 p.m. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage to property.

Cho said Sero’s behavior had changed after the loss of both his parents in the last two years, leaving him alone in his enclosure.

“Sero’s misbehaving started especially after losing his dad” last year, she said. “He would refuse to return to his pen and ignore the callings of his handlers.”

Emma Ken
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