Hilvarenbeek, November 9, 2021 – Safari Park Beekse Bergen is celebrating the birth of an okapi. The little male is only the tenth young of this endangered species worldwide to be born in a zoo in the past 12 months.
The okapi, which belongs to the same family as the giraffe, is found in the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here his existence is threatened. The IUCN, one of the world's largest conservation organizations, known for its so-called 'red list', indicates that there may be only a few thousand left in the wild. The numbers are declining because the habitat is disappearing due to the felling of the rainforest. The okapi is also hunted by the local population for meat and skin.
Safari Park Beekse Bergen is committed to preserving the okapi. The Okapi Conservation Project is supported through the Wildlife Foundation. The park also participates in the management program, also known as the breeding program. The birth of the little okapi is part of this.
The male has been given the name Dani. It is the first young for Mother Neyla. Dani is the half-brother of Guus, who was born in June 2020 in the wildlife park in Hilvarenbeek. For Beekse Bergen, it is the third birth since the okapis moved into the park in 2013.
"Dani is doing well and Neyla is also doing excellent," says head of animal care Yvonne Vogels. "It is always exciting with a first young, but she takes motherhood well and lets Dani drink well with her." At the moment the little okapi is still staying behind the scenes with his mother, but in a while Dani will be allowed to explore the country house.
Okapis belong to the same family as the giraffe and share the long neck and relatively high legs. They also have similar horns and a very long, blue-colored tongue. Because they occur in dense forests, they are also called 'forest giraffe'.
Okapis can be recognized by the dark red, brown or black fur with white stripes on the buttocks and legs, which are especially reminiscent of a zebra. The stripes are unique on each okapi, just like a fingerprint on humans. This is how a mother and her young recognize each other in the rainforest. A calf is born after a gestation period of about fourteen months. An adult animal is about 2.5 meters high and weighs between 200 and 350 kilograms.
Images may be used with reference to Beekse Bergen