Zebra gives birth to a horse
(from Manila Bulletin)
It was a mismatch made in heaven.
A domesticated stallion, said to be isolated by other horses, found love with a herd of zebras and bore an offspring called “hebra” after it was placed inside the latter’s pen in Manila Zoo, city zoo officials reported on Monday.
The newly born hebra or crossbreed of zebra and horse, however, remains to be in a “guarded” situation as the fawn might develop several complications, which might be brought about by mismatches of genes from two animals, according to Manila Zoo division chief Dr. Donald Manalastas.
“A very rare occurrence had happened in Manila Zoo last week as our zebra had finally gave birth to a hebra. Though the fawn may look healthy and active now, we are still monitoring its health,” Manalastas told the Manila Bulletin in an exclusive interview.
“Hebras are extremely rare and we were excited about his birth. This is probably the first hebra that the country has,” he added.
Not yet a zebra, not yet a horse
Dr. Marines Lagarto, also a veterinarian in Manila Zoo, explained that a “zorse” or “hebra” was a hybrid of zebra and horse and was known to be a strong animal with traits from both its parents.
“A hebra results from the union of a male horse and a female zebra. Zebras, horses, and donkeys can interbreed since they come from the same genus which is equus,” she added.
She said the fawn was called a hebra as the father of the offspring was a male horse. Zorses, on the other hand, have male zebras and female horses.
In the case of the hebra that was born only last Wednesday, the fawn came from a Chapman zebra and a domesticated stallion. The offspring had a brown skin coating donned with pale black and white stripes on its body. It was more of a horse-like shape, particularly in the shoulder region.
Lagarto said the zebra and the stallion had mated last September when it was transferred to the pen of the zebra after the stag was reportedly being outcast by other horses. The gestation period of the zebra lasted 320 to 340 days.
“He (the stallion) was very gaunt and sickly because he was being isolated by other horses in their pens. So we decided to transfer it to the company of zebra,” she said.
Despite the birth of the hebra last Wednesday, zoo officials are still observing the health of the offspring.
Manalastas recalled that the Manila Zoo had two newly born hebras in the past, but they were only short-lived due to certain genetic complications.
The veterinarian said the first hebra offspring in Manila Zoo died three days after its birth, while the second hebra, on the other hand, died just after it came out of the zebra’s womb.
“So far, hebra is still active almost a week after it was born. But in our observation, its feet are not yet sturdy like those of most fawns after they were born,” Manalastas said when asked about his over-all assessment on the hybrid offspring.
He, however, admitted that they had not yet given the hebra medical shots as veterinarians do not want to stress the fawn out.
“What we are doing now is giving more vitamins to its mother, so that the zebra will produce nutritious milk to her young. But we have not yet really done a close contact check-up on the hebra for fear that he might get stressed out with the procedure. Its health is still delicate,” the Manila Zoo officials chief said, noting that it will take at least a month to declare that the newly born fawn is out of danger.
Astig! Kabayong zebra! Pambihira! I wish we can breed more hebras. Gotta jump at Manila Zoo to see this!