This project, started in 1987, is an attempt by a group
of dedicated people in South Africa to bring back
an animal from extinction and reintroduce it into reserves
in its former habitat.
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DNA analysis has shown that the Quagga was not a separate
species of zebra but in fact a subspecies of the Plains
Zebra (Equus Quagga) The Quagga, formerly inhabited
the Karoo and southern Free State of South Africa. Like
other grazing mammals, Quaggas had been ruthlessly hunted.
They were seen by the settlers as competitors for the
grazing of their livestock, mainly sheep and goats.
By selective breeding from a selected founder population of southern Plains Zebras an attempt is being made to retrieve at least the genes responsible for the Quagga’s characteristic striping pattern.
The project is aimed at rectifying a tragic mistake made over a hundred years ago through greed and short sightedness. It is hoped that if this revival is successful, in due course herds showing the phenotype of the original quagga will again roam the plains of the Karoo.
When the Quagga mare at Amsterdam Zoo died
on 12 August 1883, it was not realised that she was the
very last of her kind. Because of the confusion caused by
the indiscriminate use of the term "Quagga" for
any zebra, the true Quagga was hunted to extinction without
this being realised until many years later.