|Colchester Zoo mourns the loss of Shadow the Zeedonk - 03-Apr-09|
|Colchester Zoo is mourning the loss of the last Zeedonk at Colchester Zoo. Shadow the Zeedonk sadly had to be put to sleep this morning at the age of 34 years old as her health was deteriorating to a point which was going to compromise her welfare.
Three Zeedonks were born at Colchester Zoo in the early 1970s following the result of an accidental mating between a male Chapman’s Zebra and a female Black Ass. This was only possible because both species are part of the Equus genus and, therefore, very closely related. The results of such a cross creates a hybrid animal which would always be sterile, and such matings are no longer a feature of modern zoos which strive to keep genes as pure as possible. Unfortunately, several wildlife parks did initiate the same type of cross in the following years, but the Zeedonks at Colchester Zoo were the first of their kind.
Shadow was the last surviving Zeedonk and had reached an extraordinary age bearing in mind that Zebras generally only live for around 20 years. Anthony Tropeano, Zoological Director commented that, “Shadow a very popular and obviously an extremely unique animal. She will be sadly missed by her keepers and the visitors that knew her so well”.
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