During the recent Labor Day holiday, the Denver Zoo welcomed the births of a female Cape Buffalo named ‘Poncho’ and a rare, endangered male Okapi calf named ‘Romakari’.
Both calves are reported to be healthy and thriving under the protective care of their mothers. The Zoo’s animal care and veterinary staff are also closely monitoring them.
Poncho was born on the morning of September 3 to mom, Rain. She is the second Cape Buffalo calf to be born at Denver Zoo in recent months. Cape Buffalo are found in southern and eastern Africa and are known for being particularly territorial, protective and sizeable, with males weighing as much as 2,000 lbs. Poncho is already spending the majority of her time in the herd’s outdoor habitat and is often easily viewable to visitors.
Meanwhile, Romakari was born on the afternoon of September 2 to mom, Almasi. He is currently being kept behind the scenes, where he will likely remain for at least a month until keepers are confident he’ll follow Almasi outdoors. Okapis look a like a cross between a Zebra and Giraffe with long necks, reddish bodies, black-and-white striped legs, and long, purple prehensile tongues.
Okapi are native only to the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo and are listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, primarily due to logging, human settlement and hunting.
Romakari is the eighth Okapi calf born at Denver Zoo and, like Poncho, the second of his species to be born at the Zoo in recent months.