A zebra at the Chyulu Hills National Park in Kenya has given birth to a “zonkey”, a hybrid between the black-and-white striped animal and a donkey.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT), an animal rescue and rehab organization, broke the news in a press release after it examined the foal only to discover it was a zebra-donkey hybrid.
It was gathered that the mother zebra had earlier strayed out of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park into a community where she became acquainted with a local cattle herd.
The “zonkey” combines the sturdy body of a donkey alongside the striped legs of its zebra mother, leaving tourists marveling at a “highly unusual” creature.
“Working with wildlife, one learns to expect the unexpected. Even the most seemingly straightforward story can eventually reveal its true stripes and surprise us all,” SWT wrote.
“Last year, our SWT/KWS Tsavo Vet Unit moved a wayward female zebra from community land back to a protected area. It was an uneventful translocation and the zebra has been loving life since.
“We did, however, have quite the surprise recently, with the appearance of a baby zonkey, a hybrid between a zebra and a donkey, by her side.
“While it (the zonkey) should otherwise lead a normal life, zonkeys are mules, meaning that it will be unable to successfully breed once it reaches maturity.”
SWT also expressed concerns about the breeding prospects of the hybrid, stating the the zonkey is thriving alongside its mother and would be released when it’s time to set orphans free.
“Mum and baby are thriving. Their new home is in an area that isn’t plagued by heavy predation and thanks to the lush conditions, water and grass plentiful,” SWT added.
“We’ve raised many orphaned zebras. In time, we will add to this pair when it’s time to release any zebra orphans, while this unusual pair wait for some wild zebra’s to discover them both.”
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