Rare blonde zebra dies at 3 Ring Ranch Sanctuary

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KAILUA-KONA — The beloved blonde zebra at Kailua-Kona’s Three Ring Ranch Animal Sanctuary died peacefully at the age of 19 early Sunday morning from old age, officials confirmed Tuesday.

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KAILUA-KONA — The beloved blonde zebra at Kailua-Kona’s Three Ring Ranch Animal Sanctuary died peacefully at the age of 19 early Sunday morning from old age, officials confirmed Tuesday.

“Having Zoe at 3RR was as close to living with a unicorn as you can get,” Ann Goody, executive director of the sanctuary, stated in a release.

The zebra, she added, had an amazing life. She neither bred nor was ever ill.

While the sanctuary showcases a variety of animals, such as monkeys and the endangered Hawaiian nene goose, Goody said, when Zoe came into view, visitors would turn their heads and gasp.

“She truly is a zebra of a different color,” she said.

Zoe was born at the sanctuary in 1998. Her mother Oreo, was a zebra mare rescued from the old Molokai Safari Park after it closed down.

More than 12,000 people came to see Zoe at the sanctuary. During visits, Goody said, people learned about Zoe as well as conservation and the difference between wild and domestic animals.

While there have been other blonde or golden zebras in captivity in other places in the world, Goody said, Zoe had a period of time where she was the only one of her kind that they were aware of.

Since her death, scientists have collected tissue samples of skin, fat and muscle to research her genes to see how her color is expressed and where it can be found.

Goody said there is currently a small herd of golden zebras in Africa deliberately bred for the rare color.

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There will be memorial service and celebration of Zoe’s life sometime in the future.

Founded in 1998, the Three Ring Ranch is a private, nonprofit, exotic animal sanctuary located on five acres above Kona. It is home to zebras, nene, hawks, owls, flamingos and reptiles, as well as many other rare, endangered and exotic creatures.

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