An inter-species romance apparently has taken root in an animal park in southwestern China. Changmao the male sheep and Chunzi the deer are reportedly now inseparable, at Yunnan Animal Park.
Staff at the animal center posted a question on their blog about the ethics of allowing the relationship to continue. They can’t reproduce, so the inclination seems to be to not separate them. One of the animal keepers there said, “The sheep and the deer have been in love with each other since last year.” (Source: Google News)
Inter-species mating has been thought of by some as simply animal blunders, but it might be part of an evolutionary process which sometimes produces hybrid animals that are capable of reproducing.
“A growing number of studies has been presented as evidence that two animal species can combine to produce a third, sexually viable species in a process known as hybrid speciation. Newly identified examples include both insects and fish.” (Source: NationalGeographic)
A hybrid ‘wholfin’ resulting from the mating of a female bottlenose dolphin and a male false killer whale, lives in a Hawaiian marine park. She actually has given birth to several calves. However, two of them died prematurely.
Some grizzly and polar bears have also been mating, and produce hybrids called grolar or pizzly bears.