"Khonorik": First Intergeneric Fertile Hybrid (European Mink/Ferret Cross)
Information from Dmitry Kalinin:
It turns out the hybrid is a cross between a female European mink and a M.putorius/M. eversmanni hybrid male.
I guess that would explain it’s light colour. That type of hybrid
apparently has a much better quality of fur than the polecat and also better than the mink. In search for a better type of fur Russian selectionists started attempts to breed hybrids in laboratories around 1970. The only one to succeed was the zoologist Ternowsky, 1978 in Akademgorodok.
Three fur farms bred khonoriks between 1978-1982, using Ternowsky’s
the Experimental farm in Novosibirsk, the Pushkinsky fitch farm and the Experimental farm in Chernogolovka (near Moscow).
Apparently, the Pushkinsky farm successfully bred minks to pure
European polecats instead of putorius/eversmanni hybrids. That type of breeding was difficult, and when the European mink population began to decline the breeding stopped around 1984. However, it appears the farm is looking to start breeding khonoriks again.
Ternowsky has bred no less than 52 different types of hybrids. Among
kohosik = Siberian weasel x European polecat
kofunoter = Siberian weasel x albino European polecat x European mink
funoter = albino European polecat x European mink
ko-hofunoter = Siberian weasel x European polecat x albino European
x European mink
hofuter = Steppe polecat x albino European polecat
kofuter = Siberian weasel x albino European polecat
The names of the hybrids are derived from the Russian words for polecat (horek), albino European polecat (furo), Siberian weasel (kolonok), and European mink (norka).