About two weeks ago, Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison took in Ziggy, the Zonkey. A zonkey is a cross between a donkey and a zebra.
"He appears to have the legs of a zebra and the body of a donkey, but the heart of both; I'm sure. Very often with these hybrids, people want to try something new they think is interesting and unique. Then, of course they find out all the negative aspects you find with a hybrid animal and so people lose interest very quickly," said Ben Callison, Director of Black Beauty Ranch.
Which is what happened with nine-year-old Ziggy.
"He was basically dumped off at the Animal Refuge Kingdom," Callison said.
Animal Refuge Kingdom could not give Ziggy the space he needed, so they reached out to Black Beauty Ranch who took Ziggy in with open arms.
"This is the first zonkey I've ever seen," Callison said.
So, what does a zonkey sound like?
"When he brays, it's a little different from a donkey; it's more like a zebra, kind of curious," Callison said.
Ziggy galloped around the pasture where he will remain in quarantine for two weeks. Callison said even the temporary pastures is larger than what he is used to. As Ziggy scoped things out, so did other residents.
The zonkey captured the attention of a camel, monkey and donkeys, all trying to get a scoop on their newest neighbor.
As beautiful as this zonkey is, the Callison advises against the hybridization of two species.
"Well you take a zebra, which is a wild species and very unpredictable, and you take a donkey, which can also be unpredictable and also very stubborn. You put those together and you've got a very unique animal. That's the hard thing with hybrids, is that these animals are not a zebra and not a donkey and so they really have a hard time existing in a zebra herd or a donkey herd," Callison explained.
Knowing hybrids are hard to predict, Callison just hoped Ziggy would find a family group.
After Ziggy's two weeks in quarantine, Callison said they introduced him to the general population in their 900 acre pasture. Callison said Ziggy is adjusting well.
As for Ziggy's friends? Callison said he is showing a lot of interest in the donkeys.
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