The Quagga Revival

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Quagga Zebra South Africa

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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.



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