The staff at Belgium's Zoo Antwerpen expected female Okapi Yenthe to deliver her baby on Christmas Day, but she had other plans. At about 3:00 AM on December 16, the zoo’s night watchman alerted keepers when he noticed something unusual in the Okapi house. Keepers were able to immediately see Yenthe and her new baby from their homes, using a web cam installed at the Okapi house.
The male baby was named Ngwani, which means “child.” He is the 49th Okapi born at Zoo Antwerpen since Okapi first arrived at the zoo in 1919. There are currently eight Okapi at the zoo, including two other calves born in the last two years.
Zoo Antwerpen manages the international studbook for Okapi. In this role, the zoo coordinates breeding recommendations for captive Okapi, with the goal of maintaining a genetically healthy population in zoos worldwide.
Okapi are found only in the dense rain forests of the
Democratic Republic of Congo – nowhere else.
They are perfectly suited for life among the vegetation. Only about 10-20,000 Okapi remain in the
wild, and these are under threat from poaching, habitat loss, and ongoing
conflict in the region.
Photo credit: © ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst