MAKUENI COUNTY, Kenya – A zebra wandered out of a Kenya national park and into a local community, where she made herself at home and mated with a donkey.
The result – a baby zonkey!
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) says the zebra lived in the Tsavo East National Park before she ventured out and became an honorary member of a woman’s cattle herd.
The zebra stayed there for a few weeks, before she started to make news and was eventually transported back to a protected area, the Chyulu National Park.
Earlier this year, SWT says its fence maintenance team caught a glimpse of the zebra with a tiny foal by her side. Several weeks later, the wildlife officials got a closer look and were surprised to see that the foal was suspiciously light on stripes and overwhelmingly tawny in color.
“At first, we thought that it had just been wallowing in the mud bath, but then the truth dawned on us: Our wayward zebra had given birth to a zonkey!” wrote SWT.
A zonkey is a highly unusual hybrid between a zebra and donkey.
During her time living within the community last year, SWT says the zebra had obviously become acquainted with an “amorous” donkey.
The zonkey combines the sturdy body of its donkey sire and the striped legs of its zebra mother. While it should otherwise lead a normal life, zonkeys are mules, meaning that it will be unable to successfully breed once it reaches maturity.
“We’re happy to report that mum and baby are thriving,” wrote SWT. “Their new home is in an area that isn’t plagued by heavy predation and thanks to the lush conditions, water and grass plentiful it is a good place to call home.”