I recently stumbled upon a great place to see an extinct horse! OK, I admit it’s a stuffed extinct horse. But it is a real opportunity to see what one looked like. And close up too.
So, first things first. The horse is a Quagga, a subspecies of the Zebra, found when it was alive on the plains of Africa. The last known Quagga died in Amsterdam Zoo, back in 1883. Quaggas became extinct because of what has – unfortunately – become a familiar story. Humans hunted them for their meat.
The Quagga in the picture shows the horse’s characteristically reduced stripes and brown colouring. It was bought by Walter Rothschild (well, it had to be someone wealthy I suppose – and he founded a whole museum) in 1889. You will also see that the body is quite long, relative to its short legs. The tail is more Zebra-like than that of today’s horse.
She – for it was a mare – was the only Quagga ever photographed. There is however, in the same museum, an illustration made some 49 years earlier (See below).
You can find the Quagga in the Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire. The museum is very well worth a visit – it has a huge number of animal exhibits and usually a cracking good exhibition.
There’s a whole chapter on Wild Horses – Brumbies, Mustangs and many more in “Lights! Camera! Gallop! The Story of the Horse in Film” an illustrated paperback or eBook available on Amazon: Find out more here!