Picture: Nie Yunpeng/Xinhua/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Dresden - Four zebras that escaped from a Christmas circus trotted past state administrative buildings on the banks of the Elbe river in Dresden on Monday before mounted police managed to corral them.

State parliamentarian Valentin Lippmann tweeted a photo of the unusual scene as police in seven patrol cars and on horseback pursued their quarry.

"They've been caught again," a police spokesman said some 90 minutes after the breakout was first reported. "The animals did not pose a threat," he said.

The operation was hindered by the fact that the zebras split up as they made their escape.

"Each zebra ran in a different direction," the police spokesman said. An officer was injured after receiving a kick from one of the zebras.