On January 5, 2011, three zebras escaped from Hearst ranch and wandered onto a cattle ranch near Cambria. The ranch owner shot and killed two of them and a neighboring rancher shot the third zebra.
Ranchers in the area complain that the zebras spook their horses and they have the right to protect their property.
Local preservationists and others in the area see the zebras and other exotic animals kept on the Hearst ranch as beautiful animals that attract tourists to the area. Each year approximately one million people visit Hearst Castle which is maintained as a state historic park.
Especially shocking to many in the area was the fact that the ranchers involved in the shootings called a taxidermist to take the zebra hides and turn them into rugs.