To use all functions of this page, please activate cookies in your browser.
With an accout for my.bionity.com you can always see everything at a glance – and you can configure your own website and individual newsletter.
- My watch list
- My saved searches
- My saved topics
- My newsletter
The Quagga Project is an attempt by a group of dedicated people in South Africa to bring back the Quagga (Equus quagga quagga) from extinction and reintroduce it into reserves in its former habitat.
In 1955, Lutz Heck suggested in his book Grosswild im Etoshaland that careful selective breeding with Plains Zebra could produce an animal identical to the extinct quagga: a zebra with reduced striping and a brownish basic colour.
Reinhold Rau visited in 1971 various museums in Europe to examine the quagga specimens in their collections. During these visits he discussed the feasibility of attempting to re-breed the Quagga with Dr. Th. Haltenorth, mammalogist, at Munich, Germany. Dr. Haltenorth thought such a programme would be possible.
During later years Reinhold Rau had contacted several zoologists and Park authorities, but they were on the whole negative. That the Quagga was still seen as a separate species caused these reactions. Reinhold Rau did not abandon his re-breeding proposal, as he considered the Quagga to be a subspecies of the Plains Zebra. In 1980, Molecular studies of Mitochondrial DNA of a quagga indicated that this animal was a subspecies of the Plains Zebra.
After the DNA examination results appeared in publications from 1984 onward, gradually a more positive attitude was taken towards the Quagga re-breeding proposal. In March 1986 the project committee was formed after influential persons became involved. During March 1987 nine zebras were selected and captured at the Etosha National Park in Namibia. On 24 April 1987 these zebras were brought to the specially constructed breeding camp complex at the Nature Conservation farm "Vrolijkheid", near Robertson, South Africa. This marked the start of the Quagga re-breeding project.
After the number of zebras increased the Quagga Project had to abandon the "Vrolijkheid" farm. In October 1992 six zebras were moved to land which had sufficient natural grazing. This would reduce the cost of feeding. In 1993 the remaining zebras were moved to two additional sites.
On 29 June 2000, the Quagga Project Association, represented by its chairman Dr. Mike Cluver and South African National Parks by its CEO Mavuso Msimang signed a co-operation agreement. This agreement changed the Quagga Project from a private initiative to an officially recognised and logistically supported project.
In 2004 the 83 zebras in the programme were living at 11 localities near Cape Town. On 20 January 2005 the most quagga-like foal was born. Striping has been much reduced.
As the quagga occupied a circumscribed range and apparently was an relict that diverged and adapted to local conditions as recently as during the Wolstonian glaciation, it might have had some special adaptations to local ecological conditions. As opposed to the plesiomorphic color pattern which seems easy to breed back, an autapomorphic adaptation could never be recovered. However, natural selection would probably make a "new Quagga" eventually as well-adapted to the local environment as was the original animal.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Quagga_Project". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|