Zoo Antwerpen’s royal resident, Yenthe the Okapi, recently gave birth to a new princess. The new calf, Qira, was born November 15. She weighed in at 24 kg (53 lbs) and was 85 cm (2.7 ft) tall.
Antwerp Zoo has a special connection to this beautiful animal. The Zoo is coordinator of the European breeding programme for the Okapi, and the prolific stripes of this endangered species are used in the Zoo’s logo.
The new calf and her mom are bonding and doing well. Yenthe’s gestation period was exceptionally long; she counted 443 days, instead of the typical 410 to 440 days. Following the tradition of giving all 2015 babies names starting with “Q”, the small Okapi was named Qira (meaning Sun). Qira is steadily gaining weight and can be identified by the unique stripe pattern on her buttocks and legs.
Zookeeper, Patrick Immens, said, “Qira seems a very easy baby. She drinks well and follows mama, Yenthe, very easily. She even steps onto the scale with ease…”
Three Okapi are now living at the Zoo: Yenthe, Qira, and the proud father, Bondo. The “royal family” is considered to be invaluable to the breeding program of this endangered species. Yenthe and Bondo are said to be an exceptionally good match due to their genetic makeup, and their contribution to the European breeding programme is invaluable.