By Jaya Franklin
Nearly a month after Evidence, a baby zebra, was found injured and wandering along interstate 75 near the Butts-Lamar County line, the animal has finally arrived at his new home.
The zebra was greeted by news crews and people from across Georgia, as the now-famous animal was welcomed to Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center and Children's Care home.
"I think it's wonderful," said Billie Swisher, 76, of Union City. "I would've brought my camera, if I knew that he was going to be here. That zebra put this place on the map."
Evidence arrived at Noah's Ark Friday afternoon for a welcome-home party. The three-month-old stood quietly, and allowed children and adults to pet him as they gazed at the beauty of the animal.
"He has a 10-inch laceration, his urethra is completely shattered, along with soft tissue damage, bruises, and two of his baby teeth were knocked out," said Diane Smith, assistant director of Noah's Ark. It is believed that Evidence sustained his injuries from being struck by a car while on the interstate.
Noah's Ark staff was contacted by the Department of Natural Resources, after the zebra was found abandoned and abused. "The staff went down there and got him," Smith added. "Our veterinarian determined that his injuries were too severe to handle here."
According to Smith, Auburn University's Veterinary School in Alabama, which treated Evidence's injuries, was the first to contact the center about keeping the zebra.
"The vets and students have grown attached to the zebra," she said.
Smith said the center is thankful for the support it has received from the community to help the zebra during his hardship.
Lowe Engineers, a civil engineering, mapping and land surveying company, adopted a zebra as its corporate mascot, and after hearing about Evidence, wanted to do something to help. Lowe Engineers' staff volunteered to transport the zebra from Alabama to Locust Grove to his permanent home.
"It was about a two-and-a-half-hour drive," said Chris Owens, principal of Lowe Engineers, who noted that the company has about 20 trucks and three boats that are zebra striped. "The zebra was fine during the ride."
The staff at Noah's Ark described the zebra as being shy and skittish, but because of the kindness of many, he will now have watchful eyes to ensure his care and supervision on a regular basis..
"We have a barn built especially for him," said Smith. "It's a 12-by-24-foot barn, which makes it easier to get in and work."
Smith said in four to six weeks, the veterinarians and students from Auburn will come to visit the animal and take out his catheter.
For more information on Noah's Ark and Evidence, log on to: www.noahs-ark.org