Extinct animals appear to represent a faith that wavers, a hope that is loss and the reality that some things are indeed not meant to last. However, this does not mean that revival has become obsolete too.
A group of scientists from South Africa was able to revive an extinct subspecies of zebra known as quagga, which has been wiped out of the world since the 19th century.
Quagga: Extinct Subspecies Of Zebra
Quagga is a subspecies of zebra that is so distinct from other species because of its trademark lack of black and white stripes on its hindquarters. The animals also have a darker brown skin color at the back part of its body.
Quagga settled in Karoo and at the southern Free State of South Africa. These animals were among the apples of the eye of hunters back then. Residents also see quaggas as competitors of their sheep and goats in the grazing field.
The last quagga died in a zoo in Amsterdam on Aug. 12, 1883.
Resurrecting The Extinct
The Quagga Project was founded in 1987 by the late South African natural historian Reinhould Rau.
Rau had DNA samples of original quagga skin, which he analyzed at the South African Museum. His team discovered that the DNA of the quagga had similar characteristics as that of Plains Zebra (Equus Quagga), making the former a subspecies of the latter.
Rau and team then looked for plains zebra with less vivid black and white stripes at its hindquarters then bred them together.
The researchers kept on rebreeding the species. Now, they are on the fifth generation and they believe they have already recreated the quagga.
Correcting Past Mistakes: An Answer To Critics
While the project seems noble and interesting, not all people are amused. Critics have piled up, saying the project is just a gimmick or an unnecessary disruption in nature.
Quagga Project chairman and farm manager Mike Gregor says their project is not a form of genetic engineering; rather it is a simple experiment of selective breeding.
Ultimately, the goal of the project is to reintroduce the extinct animals into its previous habitat.
"The project is aimed at rectifying a tragic mistake made over a hundred years ago through greed and short sightedness," the Quagga Project website states.
Gregor goes on to say that it is inevitable for projects like this to face controversies. He adds that not all scientists are going to agree about the correct thing to do.
To pacify critics, the new animals have been named Rau-Quagga to create a distinction from its forebears.
In the end, Gregor says his team is a group of passionate people who are trying to make a move and replace something that humans screwed up many years ago.