Lord Zoltar, 1950–2006

Remembering a killer zebra regarded as the Idi Amin of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Dubbed "the Idi Amin of the Upper Peninsula," Lord Zoltar, an Icelandic Peckinpah zebra, was murdered and eaten by a pack of wild vultures on a wildlife preserve in Isle Royale, Michigan on September 14. He was 56 (in zebra years).

The Icelandic Peckinpah is a rare breed of zebra that can withstand extreme cold as well as extreme heat. There have only been eight in the history of the world: Zoltar, Zed, Zorma, Zenda, Ziffy, Zeus, and their parents, Zod and Zeena. While Zoltar's siblings and mother went on to earn medals of valor for their missionary efforts in Greenland, Siberia, and the Ivory Coast, Zoltar inherited the cantankerous temperament of his father, Zod, a career alcoholic who nonetheless served as Terence Stamp's technical adviser in Superman II.

Zoltar shared his father's taste for the limelight, so when, at the age of 16, he read in the Reykjavik Sentinel about an opening for a pack leader at Isle Royale State Park, he jumped at the opportunity. At first, Michigan wildlife officials were skeptical of Zoltar's ability to lead the preserve's diverse population. But the zebra was hard-core. If, say, a snow leopard failed to cover up after a fresh dump, Zoltar would have the mountain cat eliminated via firing squad. If a prairie dog cooked Zoltar's New York strip rare instead of medium rare, the pooch would be crucified in front of a group of tourists.

Curious onlookers came from far and wide to witness firsthand the exploits of the bloodthirsty zebra—but Zoltar's supervisors began to grow nervous after he consumed a live poodle after too many tumblers of Courvoisier one night after supper. They decided that Zoltar himself would have to face his own dead reckoning and summoned the dubious Crysanthemum War Vultures from New Guinea to whack him.

For Zoltar, it was a slow and painful death, the vultures tearing every last hunk of flesh from his carcass. At his lakeside memorial service, his many admirers said Zoltar would have never done it that way. He would have been swift, decisive, and ruthless— characteristics that will follow the zebra lord through the gates of purgatory.

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