A Rare Cross Produces Zedonk

A baby zedonk, and strange cross between a donkey and a zebra, is an eye-catching animal attracting attention from around the world. The animal, named Pippi, was born July 21 at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve, close to Dahlonega, Georgia. Her mother is "Sarah," a donkey, and the father is "Zeke," a zebra.

Pippi has black-and-white-striped legs and a brown back. C.W. Wathen, the owner of the preserve, said she was named after Pippi Longstocking, the stripe-socked heroine produced by children's author Astrid Lindgren.

"Everyone that comes out can't believe what they are watching," Wathen said. "We've gotten calls from Russia and have even had visitors from France and England." Dr. Ben Benson, a licensed veterinarian in Georgia who cares for animals at the preserve, said it is very unusual for a female donkey and a male zebra to mate.

"A male donkey and female horse make mules all of the time, but it is highly strange for a female donkey to breed with a male zebra," said Benson. Wathen said handlers at the preserve find her easy to manage and Pippi seems to have the distinctiveness of both a zebra and donkey, so far.

"After her third day of time she spoke -- and she speaks zebra," chuckled Wathen. "It's crazy." "We were expecting a baby donkey and had been nervous that something was wrong, because the mother was way overdue," said Wathen. "We never thought about having a zedonk, so I guess that goes to show you that everything is possible."

Dr. Benson said he speculates the zedonk can live into her 20s and would not be able to reproduce, but time will tell all. The preserve where Pippi lives is a nonprofit organization devoted to rescuing animals.

In addition to Pippi, the preserve is home to a baby grizzly bear, white tigers and many other animals. Bookmark and Share