July 17, 2024

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Quagga Animal History

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Recently the <a href=”https://animalsdetails.com/animals-that-start-with-q/”>Quagga</a> ( <em>Equius quagga</em>), has been eliminated. It was closely associated with horses and zebras. The average size of these zebras was 53 inches and they weighed from 500 to 700 pounds. The Quagga was a relative to the Burchell’s Zebra, Equus burchelli, and was distinguished by the degree of striping. The Burchell’s zebra has black stripes on white background, and brownish “shadow” stripes between. There is much variability in this pattern. Some Burchell’s Zebras have hindquarters that are not striped. Museum specimens of the Quagga have dark stripes on the neck and head However, further back the stripes are lighter and the interspaces are darker until they combine into the brownish hue of the plain stripes. It’s interesting to consider that zebra stripes can be similar to fingerprints of humans. No two zebras have exactly the same pattern of stripes making it easier for you to identify the individuals. (Planet Wildlife, 1993)
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Quaggas were polygynous animals meaning that there was a mature male for each group or “harem,” of females. To become a harem-stallion A male was required to take females in heat one at a time from their father’s herds. Fillies began to ovulate and advertise estrus by adopting an unusual posture between the ages of one and two years age. A herd of estrus fillies was battled by stallions who gathered around the herd stallion as well as each other. The stallions fought for the filly five days a month, until she was born. Foals can be born at any time, but there was a period of peak foals/mating between December to January. This corresponds with the East African rain season. Good condition mares were capable of reproducing over a period of 2 years and produce their first foal between the ages of 3 and 3.5 years. (Skeleton, 1992)
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Quaggas lived in large herds along with their family members for several years. When members of the herd got separated their family stallion found the person who was missing with a distinctive call that was then echoed by all the other members of the herd. In the event that any of the members were sick or crippled the entire herd defended it by adjusting its pace to accommodate the slowest member. These families ‘ home ranges were of as little as 11 miles square (30 km square) in the best habitat, but they could expand it up to more than 232 square miles (600 km square) in migratory herds. (Skeleton 1992) Quaggas were somewhat diurnal. They preferred being in short grasses where they were safe from ambush at night. They moved extremely little, even though they grazed for an hour at a stretch at night. As the herds slept, at least one herd member kept his feet up and alert. In the morning, in warmer temperatures, herds began moving to pastures with longer grass and could cover over 10 miles (17 kilometers) before returning for another night.
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Herds’ mass movements occurred between pastures and sleeping areas, and stopped for water at midday. (Hannover Zoo Animals 1991)
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As with all zebras, there was the daily ritual of hygiene for the quaggas. To get rid of parasites, they would sit in a circle, nibbling on each other’s necks hair, backs and legs. The same service was provided by the oxbird, which frequently rode on the backs of animals. (Hannover Zoo Animals 1991)
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The last <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJDYFTFIEeM”>Quagga</a> passed away in the Amsterdam Zoo in Holland on 12 August 1883. It is likely that the last wild Quagga from South Africa was killed by hunters in 1878. (S. Africa’s Threatened Wildlife 1993) While the South African Red Data Book discusses the Quagga in terms of an extinct species , it’s been proven that it is actually a subspecies belonging to the Burchell’s Zebra. The South African Museum in Cape Town has begun an effort to breed Burchell’s Zebras with only minimal striping of their hindquarters until they can reproduce the same color pattern the Quagga could be re-created.
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