Pregnant donkey gives birth to zonkey, a zebra hybrid, in KS

Zyla the zonkey is a rare hybrid that is part zebra and part donkey.

Zyla the zonkey is a rare hybrid that is part zebra and part donkey.

Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center

When Deanna Kohley, with a donkey rescue organization, purchased a donkey named Jayla, she later learned that the animal was pregnant.

But she had no idea that Jayla was carrying a very rare baby.

Before Jayla gave birth, Kohley with T&D Donkey Rescue Inc. brought her to Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center “to ensure the best chance of survival for her foal,” according to an April 26 Facebook post.

And a foal with a donkey’s face and zebra’s legs came out, photos from the K-State Veterinary Center show.

That’s when “it became apparent” that Jayla had mated with a zebra before being purchased by the Missouri nonprofit.

This makes the new baby – named Zyla – a zonkey. It is a rare hybrid that is half donkey and half zebradepending on the school.

“Zyla and her mother are currently doing well at home,” the health center said.

Zyla isn’t the first zonkey to make a surprise appearance.

In April 2020, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya announced a Zonkey was born to a zebra that the group had brought home.

“At first we thought (the foal) had just wallowed in the mud bath, but then the truth dawned on us: our wayward zebra had given birth to a zonkey,” the organization said.

T&D Donkey Rescue provides donkey medical care that have been neglected, abandoned or abused, according to its website.

“If a donkey cannot be rehabilitated, physically or psychologically, it will live to the rescue as long as it is comfortably able to do so,” says the nonprofit. “Working closely with our veterinarians, equine chiropractors and farriers, we make decisions based on what is best for each donkey and the rescue. Our donkeys live in a natural environment and in honored herds and protected.

The volunteer organization works with donkeys from states like Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

This story was originally published April 28, 2022 10:29 a.m.

Kaitlyn Alanis is a McClatchy national real-time reporter based in Kansas. She is an alumnus of agricultural communication and journalism at Kansas State University.

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