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The name "Quagga" is an onomatopoeia from the sound the Quagga makes. Click the play button to hear it 


The Quagga project attempts to breed through selection a population of Plains Zebras, which in its external appearance, and possibly genetically as well, will be closer, if not identical to the former population known as “Quagga”, which was exterminated during the second half of the 19th century.

It is evident from the 23 preserved skins of the extinct Quagga, that this former population displayed great individual variation. Present southern Plains Zebra populations also demonstrate great individual variation and include individuals that have some Quagga characteristics, such as a brownish basic colour, much reduced striping, white tail-bush, etc. It is likely that some of the Quagga genes are still present in extant populations, though diluted and dispersed.

By bringing selected individuals together, and so concentrating the Quagga genes, a population should emerge that will be closer to the original Quagga population than any other extant Plains Zebra.

For re-introduction into areas formerly inhabited by Quaggas, such animals would undoubtedly be more desirable than any others.

How close re-bred Quaggas will eventually be to the original Quaggas genetically, can probably not be determined, as only portions of the mitochondrial DNA of the Quagga are known, and not it’s nuclear DNA. However, since the coat -pattern characteristics are the only criteria by which the Quagga is identified, re-bred animals that demonstrate these coat-pattern characteristics could justifiably be called Quaggas.

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8 months ago

Prof. Peter Heywood of Brown University, recently published a well-researched and in-depth book on the Quagga. He is pictured here with the Studbook Manger, Bernard Wooding, (on the left) and the Project Co Ordinator, March Turnbull, (on the right) during a field trip to Elandsberg. The book published by Cambridge University Press in 2022 is titled: The Life, Extinction and Rebreeding of Quagga Zebra. Significance for Conservation.
ISBN 9781108917735.
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