A female zebra living at an animal rehabilitation organisation was recently spotted with an odd-looking foal. The foal, light brown in colour, has faded stripes that only cover a portion of its body.

Carers at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, inspected the foal closely and realised that it was intact a zonkey – a zebra-donkey hybrid.



In a statement the centre said:

‘Earlier this year, our fence maintenance team caught a glimpse of the zebra with a tiny foal by her side. It wasn’t until several weeks later that we finally got a proper sighting of the pair — and that was when her birth announcement revealed a whole new, surprising twist.

While zebra foals are born with white and brown stripes that eventually turn black, this little one’s body 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!

A zonkey is a highly unusual hybrid between a zebra and donkey. The gestation period of a zebra is twelve months, so it’s not difficult to connect the dots. During her time living within the community last year, she 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, 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.’

The statement continued:

‘We’re happy to report that mum and baby are thriving. 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. We have over the decades raised many orphaned zebras, and in time, we will add to this unusual pair when it becomes time to release any zebra orphans, while this unusual pair wait for some wild zebra’s to discover them both. Until that day comes, they seem quite content to spend their days grazing side-by-side, a sight that makes us all stop and marvel at the wonders of nature.’