What’s the Story with Those Zebras at Hearst Castle?

Their origins can be traced to the property’s famous original owner.

William Randolph Hearst is wildly remembered as a wealthy and eccentric businessman who created a publishing legacy and inspired the critically acclaimed film Citizen Kane. Like the film, his controversial life will live on in his form of his grand residence, the sprawling, ocean view estate in San Simeon known as Hearst Castle.

Hearst built the home on land he inherited from his mother in 1911. With the help of Julia Morgan, the first female architect to receive certification, he began work on the estate home that would result in 165 rooms and 127 acres of elaborate gardens, pools and guesthouses.

Guests can tour the impressive property today, but they will not see one of the original star attractions. Hearst Castle once housed a zoo that featured free-roaming exotic and indigenous animals, such as elk, sheep, bison, ostriches and giraffes, to name a few.

And while most of the animals were sold off in the late 1930s when Hearst hit hard times, a few descendants from his menagerie still exist.

According to a story that ran in Medium, there were roughly 113 zebras roaming around the property along the Pacific Coast Highway.

You can read more about them here.

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