When caregivers caring for the animals at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an animal rescue and rehabilitation organization at Chyulu Hills National Park in Kenya, they saw a zebra with an unusual foal at her side. They looked closer and saw that the zebra had given birth to a zonkey, a zebra/donkey hybrid.
"Working with wildlife, one learns to expect the unexpected," the rescue group said in a press statement on Wednesday. "Even the most seemingly straightforward story can eventually reveal its true stripes and end up surprising us all."
The zebra mom wasn't part of the trust's normal animal groups but instead was a stray that wandered in and made herself at home amongst the local animals. She was then taken to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who takes care of zebras, rhinos, and baby elephants. The rescue personnel discovered that the zebra was pregnant after "obviously become acquainted with an amorous donkey" while amongst the local animals.
"The zonkey combines the sturdy body of its donkey sire and the striped legs of its zebra mother, which makes for a striking creature," the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust said. "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 mother and child will continue enjoying the care and safety at Chyulu Hills National Park, where they are "thriving" in their new habitat.