“Cross-breeding between zebras and other members of the equine family is not unheard of…”
A zoo in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea has welcomed its latest arrival – a zebroid, or zonkey. Named Telegraph by keepers at the Taigan zoo park in southern Crimea, the foal’s head and body are the solid brown of a donkey, while his legs have the characteristic black stripes of a zebra.
Some critics say cross-breeding animals like this is not the purpose of a zoo. Anna Kachurovskaya of the Moscow Zoo calls the practice unjustified and unscientific, adding that it’s not something that happens at “civilized zoos.” Kachurovshaya says one of the primary purposes of a zoo is to preserve wild species.
But Oleg Zubkov of the private and apparently uncivilized Crimean zoo where Telegraph was born said the breeding occurred as a result of Telegraph’s parents’ “affection for one another.” Telegraph’s mother, a zebra, was unhappy in her own enclosure according to Zubkov, so at the advice of other zoologists, they moved her into an enclosure with other hooved animals. Zubkov says she took a liking to the donkey. Next thing you know, boom, baby zonkey.
Zonkey’s aren’t unheard of, and cross-breeding similar horse-type animals happens, but it does raise an ethical question of the zoos where such breeding takes place. Should zoos be producing zonkeys? What about zeagles? Zebears? Zengaroos?
Categories: Horse News