'Zebra crossing' turns heads on S.African highway

Posted at 10/09/2010 10:43 AM

JOHANNESBURG - An escaped zebra turned motorists' heads on a busy Johannesburg highway as it strolled down the road at rush hour, The Star newspaper reported Friday.

The 20-year-old zebra named Archie found its way to the busy N12 highway Thursday after bypassing security at a gated residential estate and escaping through a gate, the paper said.

Astonished commuters called local radio stations to report their sighting of a lone zebra walking along the highway.

"So you have spotted a zebra crossing?" asked Talk Radio 702 presenter John Robbie.

Police gave chase and eventually managed to herd the animal into a fenced yard at the Johannesburg Water Depot.

But security guards at the depot said it was not an easy operation.

"The police were chasing the zebra and they must have gone up and down the road three times," a guard told The Star.

"Then they herded it here and asked us to keep it because we have a big yard with a fence."

The zebra was then tranquilized and returned to Meyersdal Eco Estate, an upmarket residential community seven kilometers (four miles) from where the animal was captured.

Archie Rutherford, chairman of conservation at Meyersdal, said the zebra was known as a vagabond among residents of the estate.

"He's quite frisky," Rutherford told The Star, saying the zebra was known for roaming the the 450-hectare (1,100-acre) estate and grazing on residents' lawns.

But, Rutherford added, "he has never made a run for it before."