(SEOUL) A zebra that escaped from its enclosure that had roamed free for hours in central Seoul, becoming an internet star, has returned safely to the zoo, officials told AFP on Friday.

Sero the zebra is back in its enclosure in “stable and healthy condition”, a Seoul Children’s Grand Park official said, after the animal spent three hours on Thursday trotting along roads and dodging traffic. cars before finally being cornered by park rangers.

Three-year-old Sero was captured using a security gate after entering a narrow alley and was tranquilised. Photos posted on social media show him being carried, asleep, to the zoo.

Sero was a bit of a “mommy’s boy” and had already had tantrums, according to the zoo

He began behaving erratically after his parents died — his mother in 2020 and his father two years later — according to a video posted in January on the zoo’s YouTube channel.

“ He didn’t want to return to his enclosure and fought with a kangaroo ”, explains the video.

Caregivers started giving him special snacks and fruit to try to keep him from “wandering”, she adds, but to no avail.

His brief adventure on the congested streets of Seoul catapulted Sero to internet stardom, spawning thousands of Korean-language videos and social media posts.

A video shows Sero walking calmly through a maze of stationary cars, while a witness to the scene exclaims, “Oh, he’s handsome!”

Other netizens noted that his escape shed light on the plight of zoo animals.

“I cried after my mom said it might be the first time he’s run in a long time,” one person wrote on Twitter.