The quagga (/ˈkwɑːxɑː/) (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra that lived in South Africa. The Image above is the only known photograph of a Quagga.
It was long thought to be a distinct species, but recent genetic studies have shown it to be the southernmost subspecies of the plains zebra.
It is considered particularly close to Burchell’s zebra.
Its name is derived from its call, which sounds like “kwahaah”.
The quagga is 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. It was distinguished from other zebras by its limited pattern of primarily brown and white stripes, mainly on the front part of the body.
The rear was brown and without stripes, and therefore more horse-like. The distribution of stripes varied considerably between individuals. Little is known about its behaviour but it 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 (see above). 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.
Since Dutch settlement of South Africa began, the quagga was heavily hunted, and it competed with domesticated animals for forage. While some individuals were taken to zoos in Europe, breeding programs were not successful.
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.