Mammal Mash-Up Produces a Donkra

Sometimes when a daddy donkey and a mummy zebra love each very much…

China’s Xiamen Haicang Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a baby donkra, the result of a cross-breed of a male donkey and a female zebra. It’s a relatively rare cross compared to the more common combination of a male zebra and female donkey.

Indeed, so rare is it that there’s little controversy over the donkra name. That’s in contrast to the male zebra/female donkey which has been called everything from a zebonkey to a zebrinny and a zebrula to a zebrass. Then again, there have been crosses of a Zebra and a Shetland pony, which must surely have been done just to be able to use the name Zetland.

The main reason the donkra is rarer appears to be chromosomes: the donkey has 62 while the zebra has between 32 and 46. Such a disparity appears to be easier to overcome when it’s the male that brings fewer chromosomes to the table. In this case the offspring appears to be healthy, although there were problems during the birth when it choked on amniotic fluid; it’s doubtful whether it would have survived birth in the wild without a vet on hand.

It does appear unlikely the donkra will go on to be able to reproduce as Haldane’s rule means there is a strong chance it will be infertile. That said, a cross-breed going on to cross-breed itself isn’t unheard of, hence the extremely rare examples of (depending on the combination) a ti-liger, ti-ligon, li-tigon or li-liger.

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2 Responses to Mammal Mash-Up Produces a Donkra

  1. Haldane's rule applies to the fertility of males versus females. That is, male offspring versus female offspring. And not the gender of the parents.

  2. If we were to release cross breeds into the wild, say… maybe 4 belong to a similar breed or species, and say they were not infertile, would that end up creating HUNDREDS of different variations of the same animal? It would seem sort of like Darwins theory on adapting, where the same animal has different variations depending on their location, their food, their habits, except it was the result of curious humans. Would it not "pollute" a species? I've seen the same thing with the Marijuana plant, where they would cross breed the plants to try to make better versions, and end up with many more variations than there originally were.

    TL;DR I accidentally'd the whole species.

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