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Rare 'Zonkey' Born in Italy Zoo; Zebra and Donkey Parents Weren't Meant to Breed [VIDEO]

Jul 25, 2013 11:07 AM EDT

An unintended and unusual coupling between a zebra and a donkey has produced a rare hybrid specimen known as a zonkey.

Ippo, as the newborn creature is called, was born last week at a small zoo in Florence, Italy. The male zonkey has black and white banded legs like a zebra, but has the face, ears and fur of a donkey.

Ippo's father is a full-blooded zebra rescued from a failing zoo and his mother a breed of endangered donkey. The zoo where Ippo was born specializes in taking in neglected or unwanted animals.

Serena Aglietti, owner of the zoo where Ippo was conceived, never intended for the zebra and donkey to mate and there was a fence separating the two animals, the New York Daily News reported.

According to a translation from the Italian news website ANSA, Ippo is the only specimen of zonkey in Italy. Others zonkeys have been born in Germany, China and Georgia, the website reported.

Besides "zonkey," other names for a zebra-donkey hybrid are "zedonk" and "zebroid." Such hybrids are said to the offspring of a male zebra and a female donkey. When the roles are reversed, the offspring is called a "donkra," according to the Huffington Post. A donkra was born in 2011 at a zoo in China.

Ippo the zonkey, however, will not likely be able to continue his legacy by fathering offspring of his own. Because of the incompatibility of the parents' chromosomes, zonkeys are usually unable to reproduce, according to the Daily News.

For a full line-up of Ippo pictures, click over to the Italian website ANSA or the New York Daily News.

A video of the newborn zonkey can be seen here.

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