After a lifetime spent in a New York City zoo, a zebra named Marty decides he needs to experience life in the wild. He escapes into the city, spurring his friends Gloria the hippopotamus, Alex the lion, and Melman the hypochondriac giraffe to chase after him. Other zoo creatures break out as well. Once the various animals are recaptured, Marty’s wish is granted: they are shipped out of the city for good, winding up on the island of Madagascar. At first assuming that this is a new sort of zoo, they eventually realize that it is in fact the wild that Marty dreamed of. They encounter wacky local wildlife, cope with newly awakened animal instincts, and eventually learn to enjoy life outside their sheltered zoo and in the wild.