Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's famed rescued zonkey has a new striped pal

Zonk is the second half-zebra-half-donkey hybrid to be given to Integrity's Haven Equine Rescue in Chester Basin, N.S.

'I've got a brand new best friend,' says Angela Welburn of Integrity's Haven in Chester Basin

Zonk the zonkey arrived in Chester Basin, N.S., on July 12 after 10 days in quarantine at another equine rescue in Maine. (Steve Berry/CBC)

An equine rescue farm on Nova Scotia's South Shore welcomed some new tenants this week and one of them has stripes. 

Zonk is the second half-zebra-half-donkey hybrid to be given to the rescue.

The animal's story and his DNA are similar to Zelda's, a zonkey who snatched headlines when she arrived at Integrity's Haven in Chester Basin, N.S., last winter. Both animals are the product of a male zebra mating with a female donkey. 

Angela Welburn, who operates Integrity's Haven Equine Rescue, said she's found a new best friend in Zonk. (Steve Berry/CBC)

While his origins are a little misty, Angela Welburn, who operates the rescue, said he was known as "Zonkzilla" at an American petting zoo where he was a main attraction.

Welburn said she received a message out of the blue from a woman in Pennsylvania who followed Zelda's story and wanted to see if the rescue could take on another zonkey.

​She said the woman wanted to keep the unique creature out of what Welburn calls the "slaughter pipeline." 

A picture of Zonk pre-rescue. (Submitted)

Concerned about slaughter

Slaughtering horses is illegal in the United States, though it is allowed in Canada. There are various websites that show animals bound for slaughter where people can bid to purchase them.

"He went through a couple auctions, and was in his final stage before being exported for slaughter," said Welburn.

To avoid that, she said the American woman paid the $10,000 in vet bills and transportation fees it took to get Zonk to Maine for quarantine at another rescue organization. 

10 days in quarantine 

Double B Equine Rescue agreed to fund Zonk's final leg to Nova Scotia, on the condition that Welburn also take on two miniature mules, Phoebe and Fiona. 

Zonk is the second half-zebra-half-donkey hybrid to be given to the rescue. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Those mules, by coincidence, also crossed paths with Zelda during her trip through Maine in November.

Zonk arrived in Chester Basin in the early morning hours of July 12 after 10 days in quarantine. 

'He trusts me so much already'

When Zonk arrived he was upset and uncooperative, but Welburn says he was like a "brand new boy" when she first put him out to pasture. 

"He trusts me so much already, I don't know what it is, but I've got a brand new best friend, I know that," she said. 

Now, six-year-old Zelda and 10-year-old Zonk have effectively moved in together at the rescue.

"I swear they talk, it's sort of like, when we're not around there's got to be some type of communication between them," said Welburn. 

Hoping to become a registered charity

Welburn has operated Integrity's Haven Equine Rescue for 16 years and recently applied to become a registered charity. 

She said she's been using her own money to keep things running because donations don't cover all the costs. 

She hopes that if her application is approved, people will be more inclined to donate for the benefit of a tax receipt.

Zonk and Zelda have become thick as thieves since both being rescued. (Steve Berry/CBC)