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Zebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A Donkey

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 12 Apr 2020 15:01
Zebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A DonkeyZebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A DonkeyThe Sheldrick Trust/Twitter

If there’s anything that’s guaranteed to make you smile today, it’s not a zebra or a donkey – it’s a zonkey!

The adorable little creature was discovered at the Chyulu Hills National Park in Kenya, alongside one of the park’s zebras.

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When caregivers from animal rescue and rehabilitation organisation the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust found the little foal, they noticed she had stripes but they were rather faint, and only covered about half of her body.

After getting a closer look, they realised the gorgeous little foal wasn’t a zebra at all – she was a zonkey, the offspring of a zebra and donkey.

In press release on Wednesday, April 8, the group said:

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Working with wildlife, one learns to expect the unexpected.

Even the most seemingly straightforward story can eventually reveal its true stripes and end up surprising us all.

Mummy zebra, who is yet to be named, was a stray who had made her way out of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park and into a community of local cattle herd, where she is said to have ‘made herself at home’.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which normally cares for baby elephants, rhinos and occasionally orphaned zebras, took the mama to Chyulu National Park.

Zebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A DonkeyZebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A DonkeyThe Sheldrick Trust
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Zebra pregnancies last for a full 12 months, so it was easy for staff at the rescue centre to work out what had happened, given that she had spent a lot of time living with the cattle herd in the last year.

Mama zebra had ‘obviously become acquainted with an amorous donkey’, according to the statement.

The wildlife trust explained:

The zonkey combines the sturdy body of its donkey sire and the striped legs of its zebra mother, which makes for a striking creature.

While it should otherwise lead a normal life, zonkeys are mules, meaning that it will be unable to successfully breed once it reaches maturity.

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Zebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A DonkeyZebra Gives Birth To Rare Baby Zonkey After Mating With A DonkeyThe Sheldrick Trust

Fortunately, mama zebra and baby zonkey are ‘thriving’ and living their best life at the Chyulu National Park, which doesn’t have  many predators and has plenty of food and water to keep them satisfied and happy.

Zonkeys are, in fact, incredibly rare, because the likelihood of a zebra and a donkey mating is uncommon as they don’t have the same number of chromosomes.

That’s what makes this little zonkey foal so special.

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If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Animals, Kenya

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    @SheldrickTrust