ZEBRA
Chris Brandis  /  AP
A female zebra named Allison frolicking with her foal named Alex at the Highland plantation in St. Thomas parish, Barbados.
updated 4/29/2005 11:14:05 AM ET 2005-04-29T15:14:05

It's male.  But what is it?  A zonkey? A deebra?  That's the debate in Barbados since a zebra gave birth to a foal sired by a donkey.

Alex was born April 21, a milk-chocolate brown creature with the black stripes of a zebra on his ears and legs.  His face looks more like a horse, with a distinctive black "V" patch on the forehead.

"It's really funny and a little bit freaky," said Natalie Harvey, a 29-year-old waitress.  "I was stunned to hear about such a weird thing happening here."

While zebra hybrids are not uncommon, most Barbadians have never seen anything like Alex.

His mother, Allison, is one of two zebras brought to the Caribbean island from Botswana, in southern Africa, in the early 1990s.  The other is George and both live at Highland, a six-acre ranch where goats, sheep, ducks and donkeys roam free.

George, however, suffered a long illness, and Allison became friendly with a donkey.

"We knew she was with foal but were not sure who the father was," said Philip Atwell, the head of Highland ranch.

As for George, he seems to get along well with his rival's offspring.  Ranchers hope Allison will eventually mate with George, who is now healthy, Atwell said.

In the meantime, Alex is the talk of Barbados.

"It's easier for a zebra to give birth to a donkey than for either of these teams to score a goal!" a frustrated fan shouted during a recent soccer match, to roars of laughter.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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