Taigan Zoo in southern Crimea was the scene of the birth of a rare animal hybrid last week. "Telegraph" is a zonkey, a zebra-donkey mix; his mom is a zebra and his dad is a donkey. According to a Thursday report on MSN.com, the little zebroid is very popular with visitors to the zoo.
The hybrid birth was not intentionally produced. The female zebra was very lonely, so they introduced her to an enclosure of various hooved animals. She immediately took a liking to the donkey, so Telegraph was the result. Oddly, the name was in celebration of a local newspaper's fifth anniversary.
The Huffington Post explains that a zebra-donkey hybrid in which the mother is a zebra, such as this one born in Crimea, is more correctly called a “donkra." They are also referred to as “hinnies.” Hybrid births such as this are rare, although small private zoos sometimes encourage it. It appears that zebroids commonly have zebra fathers, so this Crimean “donkra” is quite rare. It is most likely sterile and will not reproduce.
Politics has been injected into this animal story. Russia, which “annexed” Crimea in March of 2014, has made a statement of sorts regarding the birth of the zonkey (donkra.) The spokesperson for the Moscow Zoo was quick to point out that this type of cross breeding is “frowned up” in the zoo community. Inquisitr quotes Anna Kachurovskaya as saying:
“This sort of marketing is not justified or scientific."
Kachurovskaya continued that the goal of a zoo is to preserve wild species; she stressed that Telegraph’s birth did not fit those criteria. The director of the zoo in Crimea explains that the zoo moved the zebra into the enclosure with the donkey on the advice of a zoologist. Many such incidents are due to commercial goals instead of zoological ones.
You can view the attached video of another zebra-donkey hybrid born in a Mexico zoo. Meanwhile, Telegraph can be seen by visitors to his home zoo, frolicking with his mother. What do you think about hybrid breeding in zoos? Should measures be taken to prevent it?