Zebra-Donkeys, Tijuana's “Zonkeys”

Where the heck did they come from?

Zebra-Donkeys, Tijuana's “Zonkeys”

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Tijuana is a city that is famous for so many reasons, but without a doubt one of the more popular attractions are “Zonkeys”, (donkeys painted as zebras) and are found in Avenida Revolucion in downtown Tijuana. It is a classic tourist attraction, as many people end up taking pictures with the peculiar animals, but have you ever wondered why there are donkeys painted in zebras downtown in the first place?

The reason that for this is that the donkeys and their carts were a great tourist attraction in the early 1900s, however back then photos were black and white, and white donkeys hardly registered on the photo, so someone with a pale skinned donkey didn't have the same amount of business as someone with a darker donkey. One photographer came up with the idea to paint his donkey with black stripes, and it was such a hit that everyone started imitating him.

In 2014 this tradition will have it's 100 year anniversary, given that the oldest picture of a tourist on a Tijuana donkey is from August 24th 1914, and in the year 1939 is when the first Zonkeys appeared. Last June there was a proposal made so that Tijuana's Zonkeys become a cultural heritage, the vote will be held in September. There are currently only 9 Zonkey carts left in downtown Tijuana area.

Have you had your picture taken with a “Zonkey” yet?

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