KUNMING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- A ram and a doe will celebrate Valentine's Day with a wedding ceremony in southwest China's Yunnan province, but experts say the couple are unlikely to produce any offspring.
Long-lasting affection prompted the cross-species marriage between the male sheep named Changmao, which means "long hair," and the female spotted deer named Chunzi, which means "pure."
Changmao has been raised at the Deer Field of the Yunnan Provincial Wildlife Park located in the provincial capital of Kunming since December 2009, when the ram was two months old, said Liu Gencheng, an attendant at the deer field. The group the animal was raised with also included three sheep and eight spotted deer.
"We put them together because they were all herbivores," Liu said.
As time went by, Chunzi, who is one year older than Changmao, was often found licking the ram's hair and the ram would attack male deer whenever they came near Chunzi, Liu said.
After entering their reproductive periods, the two started mating frequently.
"They are not from the same species after all, so we separated them in November 2011," he said.
However, the two animals became very upset. The ram often attacked the fence with its horns and the doe tried to jump over the fence many times, according to Liu. So park employees decided to put them together again.
"Seeing as they are so intimate, they have my blessing," said Li Xinmei, a visitor.
Xu Linmu, an animal researcher and professor from the wildlife park, said captive animals have lost the original environment they should be in, and they face other animal species day and night, which led to some special acts.
"Affection between deer and sheep is impossible in the wild," said Xu.
Xu also said it is very unlikely that the couple will produce any offspring.
"Spotted deer are cervid while sheep are bovid. Only those belonging to the same category may have cubs, such as tiger and lion, which are both feline," he said.
Wang Dajun, a conservation biology researcher with Peking University, advised people not to attach too many human behaviors to the animals, such as wedding pictures or a wedding ceremony, because they will not appreciate them as humans do.
"Leaving them alone is the best choice," said Wang.