Scientists Learning From Male ‘Zonkey’ Ippo

Ippo is unwittingly giving scientists a powerful look into the science of how equids (and other species) evolved, researchers say.

No account yet? Register


Zonkeys (like this one and Ippo) give scientists a powerful look into the science of how equids (and other species) evolved. | Photo: Ruth Boraggina/Wikimedia Commons

Ippo was an accident.

But he was a beautiful accident. One that brings unexpected joys, marvels, adventures … and scientific discoveries.

Half donkey, half zebra, the charming little hybrid “zonkey” was born in an Italian animal rescue center near Florence. His mother, an Italian Amiata donkey, was bred unexpectedly by a Burchell’s plains zebra, a former circus animal, that jumped his fence at the center. Now age 5, Ippo is only one of four zebroids of this particular subspecies (Equus burchelli zebra, which has a unique number of chromosomes) in the world (the others are in China, Mexico, and the Eurasian country of Georgia), and he’s the only male born from a donkey dam and zebra sire

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you vaccinate your horse?
391 votes · 391 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!