Ippo the Zonkey, a zebra-donkey hybrid born earlier this month in an Italian animal reserve, is reportedly in good health.
With the coloring of a donkey and the distinct stripes of a zebra across her body, Ippo the Zonkey is the "only one of her kind in Italy," Serena Aglietti, one of the employees at the reserve in Florence, said in a statement, ABC News reported.
Exactly how Ippo came about appears to be an example of the old saying, ‘love conquers all,’ though in this case it might have been more lust than love.
Ippo’s Zebra father, which was adopted by the reserve from a failing zoo, climbed over a fence to mate with his apparent love interest, a Donkey of Amiata, an Italian breed of donkey that is an endangered species, ABC News reported.
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Ippo the zonkey is a type of zebroid, a cross between a zebra and any other species of equine, Britain’s Daily Mail notes
Other examples of zebroids include a zony, which is produced when a zebra stallion and a pony mare mate, and a zorse, which is the offspring of a male zebra and a female horse.
If Ippo had been the product of an encounter between a male donkey and a female zebra, she would have been known as a zebra hinny, or donkra, as opposed to a Zonkey.
Much like mules, which are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, zebroids are unable to produce offspring of their own because their parents are of two different types equine species and consequently have varying numbers of chromosomes.
Despite her unique genetic makeup, Ippo is expected to live a normal, healthy life.
Though rare, Ippo isn’t the only one of her kind around the world.
Georgia’s Chestatee Wildlife Preserve also had a zonkey born in July 2010, ABC News reported.
"She's doing fine," Chestatee Wildlife Preserve Owner C.W. Wathen told ABC News, adding that that zebra-donkey hybrid is very sociable with the other animals at the preserve and easily identifiable in the herd – with her striped legs and light brown coat.
"She's still like a child, so she just runs and plays around," Wathen added. "The other animals treat her like a member of the herd."
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