- QUAGGA PROJECT
THE QUAGGA PROJECT SOUTHAFRICA
Saving the Quagga from extinction
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.
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 breeding with selected southern Plains Zebras an attempt is being made to retrieve at least the genes responsible for the Quaggas colouration.
The project, if successful, will rectify a tragic mistake made over a hundred years ago through greed and short sightedness. Once again herds of “Quaggas” will roam the plains of the Karoo.
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.
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.