Zonkeys (zebra-donkey) are real and this zoo has one

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A lonely zebra got intimate with a donkey in a zoo in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

The result? A cute little zonkey born last week.

The foal’s head and body are the solid brown of a donkey, but its legs have the characteristic black stripes of a zebra.

The keepers at the Taigan zoo park named it Telegraph, after a local newspaper which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.

Zoo director Oleg Zubkov said Telegraph’s mother, who had not had a mate for a long time, was lonely and uncomfortable in her enclosure at the private zoo founded two years ago about 30km from Crimea’s main city Simferopol.

"So on the advice of a zoologist we moved her in with several other hooved animals and she really liked the donkey. As a result of their affection for one another we’ve gotten Telegraph."

Cross-breeding between zebras and other members of the equine family is not unheard of, although it is rare that the zebra is the mother. But the breeding of zonkeys or other hybrids is normally frowned upon by the zoo community.

The spokesman for Moscow Zoo, Anna Kachurovskaya, said: "Such things don’t happen in civilised zoos, but can occur at private zoos or on farms."

“This sort of marketing is not justified or scientific... zoos are for preserving wild species, that is one of their most important goals,” she said.

Source: AFP