The Art of African Exploration
«home :: Extraordinary Beasts - The quagga next »

The last known quagga died in captivity on August 12, 1883, in the Amsterdam zoo, having been hunted to extinction in the Cape region, where they were once plentiful.

Quaggas were frequently confused with zebras in early explorers’ accounts. Unlike zebras, a quagga’s stripes are most distinct on the neck and head, and its coat is tawny. When first described in 1788, the quagga was regarded as a separate species. Modern genetic studies indicate that they are likely related to the plains zebra. Their fewer stripes may be an adaptation to the open grassland of the south.

Le zebre femelle
Le zebre femelle, Image number:10902

Dutch explorers Carel Brink and Hendrick Hop encountered zebras and quaggas during their expedition to the Cape. This illustration, from the published account of their travels, depicts an animal with the quagga's stripe pattern, but the caption reads "female zebra."
Le zebre mâle
Le zebre mâle, Image number:10901

In contrast to the "female zebra" this depiction of the male has the zebra's traditional stripe pattern, suggesting they may have seen the difference in stripe pattern as a difference in gender.
The Quahkah,  Image number:SIL28-276-06
The Quahkah
Samuel Daniell was appointed artist for a British expedition into the Cape inter...
 Image number:SIL28-295-01

With a stripe pattern almost the reverse of the quagga’s, the Somali wild ass is...
The Wild Ass,  Image number:SIL28-296-01
The Wild Ass
more information
Colour & light,  Image number:SIL28-298-01
Colour & light
While sketching zebras in Sudan, the British hunter-naturalist Abel Chapman note...
Privacy | Copyright | Permissions | Credits | Smithsonian Home
Smithsonian Institution Libraries