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Quagga's Vivification

February 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 140

Quagga (Equus quagga) is one of the extinct species, which would alert an attention of many Zoo-visitors if did not disband in 1883. Primarily, the attractiveness of this species is associated with morphological and behavioral similarities with other animals, in particular, cloven-footed (artiodactyl) ones. To be more detailed, visual appearance of these half-zebras evidences of certain relations to the horse, the donkey and the antelope gnu. Zebra's stripes pattern, but much less clear, stretches only over a head and the front part of torso. Small ears and thick tail relate Quagga to a horse and the overall figure and sizes - to a donkey. Imagine, what astonishment this animal would bring up nowadays?!

However, it is impossible due to a long story of hunting, exploiting and using these animals in South Africa both by locals and Europeans. The last one wild Quagga was killed in 1878 and the last representative of this species died in the Amsterdam Zoo in 1883. Even in one of the books of Mayne Reid there are some references to the distribution of Quaggas from the Cape of Good Hope to the Limpopo River, and, probably, books in addition to certain photos are the only flashbacks, which memorize existence of these animals.

Speaking about their extinction, it is not a surprise that human intervention played a crucial role. Particularly, local native Africans hunted Quaggas for getting meat, but these animals were hunted in proportions to their reproduction. The bigger impact was made by Boer colonialists, who took extra bullets from dead animals, used their skin as bladders for grain and their meat to feed slaves. It is obvious that locals treated Quaggas in more appropriate way than new-comers and, moreover, there is a belief that Quaggas were put by the flocks to protect them from predators, but from the point of biology it is very unlikely to happen.

The extinction of Quaggas has developed in a huge challenge for scientists and zoologists, who were encouraged to reproduce this species during the 20th century. For instance, in 1980s Reynold Rau, South-American scholar, decided to use modern technologies to make Quagga species alive again. He took samples from the remains of the skin and muscles, stored in museums, which were used to obtain and examine of animal's DNA. These studies showed that on the gene level Quaggas are very close to common zebras. Afterwards, the crossing of animals bearing the signs of Quagga was conducted and a new breed has brought up nine individuals, which were later placed in their natural habitat - in a special camp in Etosha National Park in Namibia. After a certain period of time, in 2005, the first colt with Quagga's resemblance was born. Nowadays on the Park's territory 100 individuals have already found their home, which are considered one of the top 10 extinct species.

Maria Kruk, an author for

Source: EzineArticles
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