A rare donkey-zebra hybrid was born on an animal reserve in Florence, Italy last Saturday – and his name is Ippo. According to the owner of the reserve, Serena Aglietti, “Ippo is the only one of his kind in Italy.”
ANSA reports that the breeding of Ippo was unintentional – at least in the eyes of his caretakers. The reserve built a fence to separate his parents, but that didn’t stop the pair from mating. The male zebra climbed over the fence to canoodle with the donkey, and a few months later Ippo was born. According to the Daily News, Ippo’s father is a zebra that was rescued from a failing zoo and his mother came from a breed of endangered donkeys.
It’s unlikely that Ippo will sire more zonkeys. As noted in Wikipedia, “they are generally genetically unable to breed, due to an odd number of chromosomes disrupting meiosis.”
Although Ippo is the first zebra-donkey hybrid to be born in Italy, another zonkey was born in the United States in 2010, and there are reportedly a few zonkeys in Germany and China as well.