Visitors flock to a Moroccan village to witness the birth of a remarkable foal
DNA tests have confirmed that a Moroccan mule has given birth to a miracle foal.
“A mule is the hybrid product of a donkey father and a horse mother, and because the number of chromosomes in each of these two species differs the mule is sterile, incapable of reproducing, incapable of producing a baby mule,” says Gigi Kay, technical director of the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) in Morocco.
But after blood tests SPANA vets have confirmed that the foal inherited a mixture of horse and donkey chromosomes via the mother’s ovum.
Itsmother is a true mule and the father a donkey. Genetically it is about a quarter horse and three-quarters donkey.
“When I was told by locals in the mountainous region of Oulmes that a mule had given birth I was naturally sceptical. However, as Gallen wrote in 45 BC ‘there is nothing in this world that is governed by invariable rules’ and this was certainly the case with this little baby,” added Gigi Kay.
“We journeyed up 10 km of rough track in what seemed like the edge of the world and all along the way people were coming and going – as it turned out, were going for the same reason, to visit a baby mule high up on the plateau above Oulmes, 80 km south of the ancient city of Fez.
“When we finally arrived we found mother and baby in a tiny stall in a little hamlet of three houses. The mule was 14 years old, had never been in season and her owners had had no idea she was pregnant until the morning they went to fetch her for work and found not one mule but two.
“They even told us that the day before the birth was a local market day and she had carried the family uncomplaining the 16 km to get to market!
“The mule showed every sign ofbeing very happy with her miracle babe and the owners gratefully accepted our gifts which were to buy barley for mother and son.”
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