Exotic Animals


When a person thinks of treasure I suppose images of gold, coins, diamonds and so forth come to mind.  Yet in many ways treasure comes in many different shapes, sizes and images.  The vast array of colorful animals on our planet is something to enjoy, if not be treasured.  Whenever I think of treasure hunters journeying  around the world, my imagination goes wild when I think of Africa.  I envision them trekking through the jungle encountering lost tribes and a variety of animals.  Many of the animals are different, exotic, and unique.  

            I choose to include a number of exotic animals on the game board of Treasure Trove.  Some of them are classified as cryptids.  A cryptid  is by definition an unidentified mysterious animal.  Cryptids have been found all over the world, on all continents.  Perhaps the most well known are Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.  In the early 1980s a organization was created to study cryptids and they called it the International Society of Cryptozoology.  They choose as their emblem the Okapi, an animal at one time thought to be extinct, at least to the scientific community, that being European zoologists in the 1800’s.  Okapi,s were a well known among many of the African tribes but for decades was treated with skepticism by the European science community.  That changed in the late 19th century when European explorers to central Africa reported a number of sightings.  Okapi’s are a cross between a giraffe and a zebra.  Okapis are not only not extinct, but there are estimated to be over 15,000 in the wilds of Central Africa today, and a number are in zoos around the world.  the Okapi was chosen as the emblem of the Cryptozoological Society because it represents an animal whose existence was debated and even denied until proven otherwise.

The October issue of National Geographic mentioned the Okapi as being prominent in Central Africa and yet the article titled “The Elusive Okapi,”states, “they persist in quiet mystery.”








Quagga at a London zoo in late 19th century

          In the late 1980’s when I was looking for interesting finds to place on the game board of TreasureTrove I ran across an animal called a quagga that once roamed the grassy plains of South Africa.  Early European explorers described the half zebra, half horse when they returned to Europe.  By the late 19th century there were some captured and taken to zoos in Europe.  I thought it was a cool looking animal and would it would look colorful to place on the board.  I had never heard of the animal, much less knew anything about it.  

         I soon learned that quaggas are now extinct, the last one dying in captivity over 100 years ago.  Efforts began in the 1980’s to use DNA from stuffed and mounted specimens with selective genetic breeding to try and bring the quagga back.  Those efforts have not come to fruition as of now.  The quagga reminds us of the many interesting and curious things of the world we live in as we journey through life always on the lookout for new discoveries.   

         The following shows quagga on the game board of TreasureTrove



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