The Quagga Is Extinct, Right?
This photo taken in 1870 by Frederick York is one of five known photos to exist of a quagga, all of which show the above mare in a London zoo, the only known specimen to ever be photographed alive.
A subspecies of the plains zebras, quaggas roamed South Africa in large numbers, their unique striped pattern giving them a half-zebra, half-horse appearance. As human settlement grew in South Africa, so did the decline of quagga populations, hunted to annihilation for hide and meat. Extinction in the wild occurred in 1878, and the last captive quagga died in an Amsterdam zoo, August 12, 1883. Another chapter added to the volume of animals never to be seen again?
After DNA samples of preserved specimens showed that the quagga was not actually a separate species of zebra but rather a subspecies of the plains zebras, the South Africa-based Quagga Project was started in 1987 to bring back this animal from extinction and reintroduce it to former habitats. The restoration project relies on selective breeding from specific zebras, focusing on the genes responsible for the distinctive striped pattern.
As to the results of a project which sounds futuristically far-fetched?
Meet Khumba, one of the most recent quagga foals.