Introducing the Latest Zonkey: Zebra/Donkey Mix

PHOTO: A hybrid of a zebra and a donkey stands at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol, Crimea on Aug. 5, 2014.

A zoo in Crimea has welcomed a new addition to the family -- a “zonkey.” The zebra and donkey mix is an unusual but adorable sight, donning the head and torso of a donkey and the legs of a zebra.

The zonkey, one of a variety of “zebroids,” was born last week at the Taigan zoo park in southern Crimea, global news agency AFP reported. The zonkey was named “Telegraph,” after a local newspaper, by keepers at the zoo.

PHOTO: A hybrid of a zebra and a donkey, right, stands near his mother at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol, Crimea on Aug. 5, 2014.
Yuriy Lashov/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: A hybrid of a zebra and a donkey, right, stands near his mother at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol, Crimea on Aug. 5, 2014.

“Telegraph is very popular with visitors,” zoo director Oleg Zubkov told AFP of the rare cross-breed, explaining that that the zonkey came about after he moved the zoo’s only zebra -- a female -- into an enclosure with other several hooved animals to keep her from getting lonely.

“She really liked the donkey,” Zubkov told AFP. “As a result of their affection for one another we’ve gotten Telegraph.”

PHOTO: A hybrid of a zebra and a donkey plays with his mother at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol, Crimea on Aug. 5, 2014.
Yuriy Lashov/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: A hybrid of a zebra and a donkey plays with his mother at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol, Crimea on Aug. 5, 2014.

Though the zonkey is a popular attraction for visitors, some critics do not agree with the practice of cross-breeding in zoos.

“Such things don’t happen in civilized zoos, but can occur at private zoos or on farms,” said Anna Kachurovskaya, a spokeswoman for the Moscow Zoo, according to AFP. “Zoos are for preserving wild species. That is one of their most important goals.”

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