Meet Khumba, the second ‘zonkey’ to be born at an international zoo in less than two years.
Born just a week ago in a Mexican zoo, Khumba’s mother, Rayas is a zebra, and his father, Ignacio, is a dwarf blue-eyed albino donkey.
While experts say Khumba is part of a rare phenomenon in animal mating, his parents beat the odds with their tryst at the Reynosa Zoo.
According to zoo keepers Rayas would visit Ignacio every afternoon and it seems the feelings were mutual between the pair with the donkey often sneaking in to visit his zebra love intrest.
Another Zonkey named Ippo was born only last year in an Italian zoo in Florence – also the nation’s city of love.
Believe it or not donkeys are not the only equines that zebras have been documented to mate with. Many other zebra hybrids exist including a zedonk, zorse, zebra mule, zonkey, and zebrule.
Many of these combinations of zebra have been bread since as early as the 19th century and Charles Darwin, biologist and author of the historic Origin of the Species, noted several zebra hybrids in his own works.
Zebroids often physically resemble their nonzebra parent, but are striped like a zebra. The stripes usually do not cover the whole body, and might be confined to the legs or spread onto parts of the body or neck.
Donkeys are closely related to zebras and they both belong to the horse family, however they differ in the number of chromosomes – a donkey has 62 chromosomes; the zebra has between 32 and 46 (depending on species). Regardless they are still able to breed together.
Zebroids were bred in the 1970’s as a suitable riding alternative to the zebra. Greater understanding for animal rights and conservation led to the end of such programs from various zoos around the world.