The previously extinct quagga, an animal relative of the zebra, has been brought back by a group of scientists outside Cape Town as a part of the Quagga Project, according to CNN. Many people have never heard of the unique animal due to its disappearance more than 100 years ago but now, they will get the chance to see them again.
Quaggas have stripes much like zebras, although they only cover the front half of their bodies; the rear half is covered in a solid brown coat. Although they used to roam South Africa in large numbers, they were killed off swiftly by European settlers who hunted them down, and by the 1880s, the species was completely extinct, according to News 96.5.
Using DNA and selective breeding, the Quagga Project has now bred animals that look almost identical, essentially resurrecting the little-known species for the first time ever. The group claims that the key to their success was genetic analysis, which revealed that they were a sub-species of the plains zebra. After concluding that quagga genes were likely still present in the zebra, they began breeding and noticed colorings that became stronger and more defined as time went on.
"The progress of the project has in fact followed that prediction. And in fact we have over the course of four, five generations seen a progressive reduction in striping, and lately an increase in the brown background color showing that our original idea was in fact correct," said Eric Harley the project's leader.
Of course, there have been many detractors, some saying that the project is a stunt, others saying that all they have done is create a different kind of zebra with no regard for the behavioral and ecological adaptations of the original quagga, which as of now, are mostly unknown, according to Science Mic.
"There are a lot of detractors who are saying you can't possibly put back the same as what was here," said fellow project leader Mike Gregor. "What we're saying is you can try and do something or you could just not. And I think us trying to do, trying to remedy something, is better than doing nothing at all."
"If we can retrieve the animals or retrieve at least the appearance of the quagga, then we can say we've righted a wrong," Harley added.