Typically, we see deer run through our yards this time of year and, as the Christmas season approaches, maybe a reindeer or two.
But, what has been reported in south Bradley County and has been going on for the past few months is a little different.
“Not everybody has a zebra,” said Tony Cameron.
Cameron and his family have 200 acres of land in the Bucks Pocket area in southern Bradley County.
“Yes, honey, there is a zebra in the yard,” he said to his wife Shelley, who is a kindergarten teacher at Valley View Elementary School.
Cameron said he has a number of animals on his farm, but the zebra was a new sight.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Ben Davis said the zebra reportedly escaped from its owner, who is Ron Price.
Cameron said he has learned the zebra’s name is “Zeek.”
The zebra has been on the loose for several months. Price also has elk on his farm located on Hunt Road.
“We have no authority over zebra,” said Davis.
“I like seeing it around,” Tony said.
Approaching the animal, which is native to parts of Africa, is a little different story.
Cameron said he was on his four-wheeler last week and rode with the animal at a pretty fast clip.
“It was about 10 feet beside me,” he said.
The animal has run freely on the Cameron farm for about four weeks now.
“We don’t hunt, but we do have deer feeders out on the property, and the zebra has grown accustomed to it. We are trying to keep Zeek calm and socialize him and [have] not made any attempts to catch him at this time,” Cameron said.
“It’s fun to see him. He will come into the yard and graze. He is just hanging out,” he added.
Cameron said he has heard rumors that Zeek had been captured in the past, but managed to escape captivity.
“Someday we may be able to contain him. We just want him to be safe, as well as those he may come in contact with,” he said.
“I have found evidence in the wooded areas of the farm where he has bedded down, and he is welcome here,” he added.
The family has had some unique experiences with Zeek.
On their social media page, a video of the family shows them full of squeals and laughter as Zeek is spotted and eludes them once again.
“We heard there is a reward for his capture, but we don’t want a reward,” Cameron said.
“Our goal right now is to keep him safe, and we have plenty of room for him … maybe someday we will contain him. We will call it ‘Operation Striped Horse,” laughed Tony.
Even the family’s “Elf on the Shelf” got in on the fun. Shelley has a photo of “Eddie” atop a zebra figurine.
“Guess what Eddie has been watching?” she asked.
Yes, it’s Zeek the zebra.
Santa may have a place on his team when he visits Bradley County children later this month, but at present, Zeek is entertaining and visiting the Cameron farm, and all is well.