The Last Quagga
August 12, 1883 - On this day the last living quagga died in captivity at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.
The quagga was a subspecies of the plains zebra. It had the normal zebra markings on the front of its body, but in its midsection the dark stripes gradually widened then faded away. Its hindquarters were totally brown.
There was a time when massive numbers of quagga roamed South Africa. They were hunted for their meat and hides and by the late 1870s the last wild quagga was shot and killed. A handful of specimens lived on in zoos, but they were difficult to mate in captivity. Within a dozen or so years the quagga was gone.
There are 23 stuffed and mounted quagga in museums and research collections around the world. One was destroyed in Germany during World War II.
Nowadays genetic scientists are trying to bring back the quagga through a controversial process called "breeding back." A few animals have been bred that exhibit traits of the quagga, but academics are divided over whether it's ever really possible to re-engineer an extinct species.