About Quagga Horses
Quaggas are an extinct subspecies of plains zebra that lived
in South Africa until the 19th century.
It was long thought to be a completely distinct species, but
genetic studies have shown it to be the southernmost subspecies of plains
zebra. They are considered particularly close to Burchell's zebra.
The name, Quagga, was named for a sound that they make, it sounded
like "kwa-ha-ha". They are believed to have been around 257 cm (8 ft
5 in) long and 125–135 cm (4 ft 1 in–4 ft 5 in) tall at the shoulder. They were
distinguished from other zebras by their limited pattern of primarily brown and
white stripes, mainly on the front part of their body. Their rear was brown and
without stripes, and therefore more horse-like. This distribution of stripes
varied considerably between individuals.
Little is known about the quagga's behaviour, but they may
have gathered into herds of 30–50 individuals. Quaggas were said to be wild and
lively, yet were also considered more docile than Burchell's zebra.
They were once found in great numbers in the Karoo of Cape
Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State in South Africa. After
the Dutch settlement of South Africa began, Quagga were heavily hunted as they
competed with domesticated animals for forage.
While some individuals were taken to zoos in Europe,
breeding programs were unsuccessful. The last wild population lived in the
Orange Free State, and the quagga was extinct in the wild by 1878. The last
captive specimen died in Amsterdam on 12 August 1883.
Only one quagga was ever photographed alive and only 23
skins are preserved today. In 1984, the quagga was the first extinct animal to
have its DNA analyzed, and the Quagga Project is trying to recreate the
phenotype of hair coat pattern and related characteristics by selectively breeding