Today I give you an article with three words you don’t see often: Crimea, zebroid and zonkey. Here’s the scoop: Crimea is a landmass on the northern coast of the Black Sea almost completely surrounded by water. It is a peninsula just south of the mainland of the Ukraine. It is there, in the main city called Simferopol and inside the Taigan Zoo Park, a zebroid — or zonkey — was born.
It was an unplanned and unlikely, yet joyful birth. The heart wants what the heart wants. Oleg Zubkov, the director of the zoo, grew concerned when a female zebra became depressed in her isolated area at the zoo. When he consulted a zoologist, it was advised that she be moved to an area where she would be in the company of other hooved animals. Her loneliness was successfully abated when Ms. Zebra grew close to a Mr. Donkey. After canoodling led to so much more, a little zebroid was born. He was named Telegraph, after a local newspaper — and because his legs are long like telephone poles.
Telegraph is the brown color of a donkey from his head and around his torso, but his legs have the black stripes of a zebra. Meet Telegraph and his mom in this video below. Sorry, it’s in Russian but here’s the translation:
Zoo director Zubkov says, “Unfortunately, the nearest zebra male is in the Yalta zoo. The zebra has been alone for some time. As you know, the zebra is a pack animal and she needs a society. This society was found in the face of the donkey. They got close to each other. We couldn’t even imagine that such an amazing ‘zebra-donkey’ baby would be born. We named him Telegraph. He’s a healthy, beautiful, and interesting animal. And for sure we won’t do the Copenhagen zoo style, we won’t kill the baby just for being different from others.”
How Common Are Zebroids and Zonkeys?
Not very. Donkeys and zebras have very different numbers of chromosomes. A donkey has 62 chromosomes, while a zebra can have anywhere between 32 and 46. Zonkeys are generally not able to reproduce.
A Miracle Baby in Mexico
Coincidentally, on April 21, another zonkey was born. This little striped wonder was born in Mexico’s Reynosa Zoo and named Khumba. The mother is a zebra named Rayas. The dad, Ignacio, is an all-white, dwarfed, blue-eyed albino donkey that lives on a local farm. As with Telegraph, Khumba has the head and torso of a donkey with the striped legs of a zebra. What a romance Khumba’s parents had! Rayas the zebra mom would leave the zoo nearly every day to go visit with the donkey dad. On other days, Ignacio left his farm and snuck into the zoo to be with his lady love zebra. Well, you know, one thing led to another, and the first zonkey was born in Mexico.
Take a look:
Footnote: The Crimea zoo has more good news! A few months ago, four very rare white Bengal tigers were born.
To see their adorable faces, watch this:
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.