The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo is blessed with a rare member in its family- an endangered Okapi Calf. The birth of this rare and endangered Okapi is a momentous occasion for the zoo and the entire wildlife researchers and conservationist community. 

 The Okapi is also known as the Forest Giraffe, Zebra Giraffe, and Congo Giraffe.

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However, it has striped markings such as Zebras have, but is closely related to the Giraffe. 

The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

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They are rare, why?

Surprisingly the Okapi and the Giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae. 

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It is an artiodactyl mammal and the only species in the genus Okapia, that is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Africa continent. 

Let’s gather more information about Okapi.

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The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

Okapis have a body length of around 2.5 meters and their weight ranges from 200 to 350 kg. They have long necks and large and flexible ears. They are chocolate to reddish brown with white horizontal stripes and rings over the legs followed by white ankles. 

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Male Okapis have ossicones (short and distinct horn-like protuberances) on their head. Female Okapis have hair whorls while ossicones are absent in them. 

Okapis are mainly diurnal but might be active during darkness for a very few hours. They like to be solitary and come together only to breed.

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The Cute Calf!

The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

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The baby calf looks exactly like its mother and has a cute and innocent face. This male calf was the first baby to be born to Kayin (mother) and Bosomi (father), but the seventh Okapi calf was held at the zoo.

Kayin is a compassionate and first-time mother. She barely takes her eye off her newborn child. Fortunately, the newborn calf is healthy and strong, reaching major developmental milestones such as bonding with its mother. According to caregivers, the calf had nursed for an hour after the birth. Its health was also examined by the Zoo’s veterinary team. They checked its overall body functioning and other things such as weight which had reached nearly 57 pounds at the time.  

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The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

A significant event for both the Zoo and the conservation community. 

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According to Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino who is the Zoo’s curator of hoofstock and megafauna, this newborn Okapi calf is a remarkable achievement for the Oklahoma City Zoo and its partners. Everyone is thrilled to contribute to the conservation of this rare species and also looks forward to watching this calf grow and thrive.  

The Birth Of A Rare And Endangered Okapi In The Oklahoma City Zoo

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Unfortunately, Okapis face a lot of threats in their natural habitat, including poaching and habitat loss. Hence, they are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. The birth of this Okapi calf is a significant event for both the Zoo and wildlife researchers. It is a testament to the successful captive breeding programs and steps to conserve this species. 

Collaborative breeding programs, public awareness, and thorough research are helping to ensure a future for species like the Okapi, which are at risk of extinction from the wild. 

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