A nineteenth century zoo docent’s farewell to the last Quagga: a fiction


“Ladies and gentleman what we have here is a species on its last legs

hunted to extinction in South Africa on account of being

‘easy to kill'”

said the docent

“as all of you well know

their meat recalls something close to beef

but leaner and far less tasty

certainly not worth killing over, I’m certain you agree

this is the last known of its kind

let it serve as a reminder

of how ruthless some in our species can be

not any of you fine people, of course,

but those awful African hunters

who pull their triggers for profit

and give not a thought to the wonderful diversity of this planet

in the process”

at that, the docent shed genuine tears

the tour customers looked back and forth between the animal and the man and then the animal again

it had a build like that of a horse

the stripes of its African cousin the zebra

but curiously only over the first half of its body

Standing over a patch of unruly grass

nibbling together its breakfast

it was difficult to imagine

a less dramatic ending

perhaps a tiger set loose on it might make more sense

as far as endings go

“This creature, albeit in fair health is quite old, and as such, our royal veterinarians tell us will be dead within the next three months

and with him, will come the end of an entire species”

the tour customers had known this estimation

that’s why they were in attendance after all

but many of them still opened their mouths in disbelief

whether they feigned such gestures is not known

what is known is that not a one cried

but rather they went through the tour quietly and glumly


that they could not feel anything

at all.

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One thought on “A nineteenth century zoo docent’s farewell to the last Quagga: a fiction

  1. Miranda Stone says:

    This is very fitting for today, seeing as how the black rhino has just been confirmed extinct. We all shake our heads and point our fingers at others, but humanity as a whole is taking a horrible toll on the planet and the creatures inhabiting it.

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