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Whatever Happened To The Park City Zebra?

Dave Belcher

Park City residents who have been in the area long enough might remember a zebra living in the backyard of a home off of Highway 40.



Dave Belcher and his wife bought Ace the zebra shortly after they built their Park City home in 2001.

While they’ve had other animals like goats, deer, sheep, bison and a donkey, Belcher said a zebra is the most out of place in a state like Utah. 

"Yeah, in snow up to their bellies sometimes," Belcher said. "And you're going...really?"

Few things have stayed the same in the past two decades since the Belchers moved to Park City. 

Unfortunately Ace died in 2012. However, the family quickly bought another zebra, who Belcher said has a better temperament. 

Credit KPCW News
Zippy the zebra eagerly awaiting a carrot.

"They’re pretty mean, they love to kick and bite," he said. "So we had one zebra and it got sick and we lost it. So we got another one, and the new one we have is Zippy. And you can put a lead rope on her and halter and walk her, but the minute she hears a noise, they're like on hyperventilating, they hear one little noise, they just go nuts, they just take off and start running." 

The family has moved about six miles east of Heber, which has presented its own set of challenges. 

"When we moved, we fenced an area and then put a barn for the animals," he said. "We didn't realize it but after we'd been there probably only about eight months, we didn't realize there's mountain lions over there. And they got in and killed some of our small animals, our two little goats, our two little sheep and our little deer."

  The Belchers' larger animals like the bison, donkey and zebra survived the attacks. Belcher said now the animals sleep in the barn, and he’s since further fenced-in and gated the area to keep out predators. 

Belcher bought his zebra from a breeder in Southern Utah, and all he needed was a $40/year permit to keep her in his backyard. The breeder’s website is zebrasRus.com, which is in fact a real website. 

"Look it up. You'll love it," he said. "They have some nice pictures, they have a herd of zebras where they raise zebras and sell them." 

For anyone who’s looking to get their own zebra, Belcher said that owning one doesn’t require any more work than a horse or a cow. 

Credit KPCW News
Dave Belcher feeds Zippy a few times a day, mostly grass hay. Sometimes he'll feed her treats, like carrots.

  "You have to feed them a couple of times a day," he said. "Water, they need a good water source, especially in the winter, so they keep hydrated. And then hay, we give them grass hay, not alfalfa."

Belcher said there likely are other people in Utah with the exotic pet, but he’s pretty sure Zippy is the only Zebra in the area.


Jessica joins KPCW as a general assignment reporter and Sunday Weekend Edition host. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English — concentrating in film studies — and journalism. Before moving to Utah, she spent time in Atlanta, GA.