Off Beat

Mary the escaped African antelope is back at Lupa Zoo in Ludlow after 5 weeks on the run

"It was like something out of a movie."

Mary the antelope is back at Lupa Zoo in Ludlow after a one-month adventure in the real world, the zoo reports. The one-horned African antelope escaped in April following a storm that took down the fence lining her and her mate’s enclosure.

Since then, the zoo, police, animal control, and others have been searching for the wayward antelope. This weekend, a determined zoo staff member caught her.

Wally Lupa, a director of facility development and animal care at the Lupa Zoo, said in a release that he was able to lure her into a trailer near the Mass. Pike on Saturday and return her home. He spotted her by the solar panels close to Chapin and Miller Streets.


“She walked right into the trailer and to say I was relieved would be an understatement,” he said.

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said Lupa “showed amazing compassion,” sleeping mostly in his car during the past five-week search for the antelope. He added that Lupa tried “everything imaginable to bring Mary home.”

“I’m incredibly pleased this story has a happy ending, and that is due to the entire Lupa Zoo staff working tirelessly to bring her home safely,” Cocchi said.

Lupa added that catching Mary proved particularly tricky. He said she is a rare breed of antelope with good sight and hearing that rests infrequently, and is resistant to tranquilizers. However, he was able to wait her out and avoid any tranquilizer use.

“She was reunited with her mate this morning and they will slowly be getting back to normal,” Lupa said. “We wouldn’t have been able to get to this day without the help of Sheriff Cocchi and the other departments who jumped in to help. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone I’ve met over the course of this journey.”

While away, Mary appeared to spend time with the local wildlife. The night she was spotted, she was with a group of deer.


“It was like something out of a movie,” Lupa said. “But I’m glad it’s over and maybe tonight I can finally sleep well and in my own bed.”


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