Okapi

New Arrival For The Rare “Forest Giraffes”

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At 11.55 p.m. on Sunday 10 July 2022, a baby okapi was born at Basel Zoo. Toka’s birth has been the source of great excitement: he is only the fifth forest giraffe calf to be raised at Basel Zoo in over 20 years.

The new son of mother Ebony (10) and father Imba (15) is called Toka. The small bull is strong and curious. Immediately after he was born in the night between Sunday 10 and Monday 11 July 2022, he stood up on his shaky but stocky little legs and went in search of milk. Now, at 11 days old, Toka is in the best of health and is feeding regularly. After Quenco, who was born in 2019, Toka is okapi cow Ebony’s second successful birth. Her first calf came too early in 2017 and was stillborn.

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“Incredibly Special” Okapi Born At Chester Zoo

A rare okapi has given birth to an “incredibly special” calf at Chester Zoo. 

Incredibly special okapi born at Chester Zoo kicks up her feet in first outdoor adventure (72)

The wide-eyed infant, born to first-time mum Ada and dad Stomp, has remained snuggled up in her nest ever since her arrival into the world. But now, the shy youngster has started to take her very first tentative steps outside as she begins to gain in confidence.

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Baby Forest Giraffe (Okapi) Born At Beekse Bergen

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.

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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.

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Rare Okapi Birth at Rotterdam Zoo

In the Netherlands, Rotterdam Zoo’s Okapi M'buti gave birth to a baby on Sunday November 21 at 12:15 pm. Mother and baby are doing well. M'buti is an experienced mother, this is her third baby. The father is Ngwani. The little one will remain in the stable for the next few weeks. Okapis are altricial, meaning they mature after birth with the aid of their parents. Just like in the wild, the mother leaves her young in a safe place and returns only to nurse. At first, okapi calves spend their days mostly sleeping and drinking. Visitors will soon be able to peek into the nursery via webcam.

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It’s a girl! Rare Okapi Born at Chester Zoo

Conservationists are celebrating the birth of a rare baby okapi at Chester Zoo.

The female calf, born to mum K’tusha (7) and dad Stomp (17), arrived safely following a 14-month-long pregnancy.

The zoo’s CCTV cameras captured the calf’s first wobbly steps as she was gently encouraged to her feet by mum, shortly after birth. Now, the shy new arrival has stepped outside for the first time after spending the first few weeks of life snuggled up in a cosy nest.

It_s a girl! Rare okapi born at Chester Zoo (14)
It_s a girl! Rare okapi born at Chester Zoo (14)
It_s a girl! Rare okapi born at Chester Zoo (14)

Zookeepers have named the adorable youngster ‘Nia Nia’ in homage to a small village that is in the centre of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a place where the zoo’s field partners are based, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the only country in the world where okapis are found in the wild.

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Baby Okapi Born on Camera!

 

Oni the okapi, who featured in the first episode of last week’s ITV documentary, London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year - has delighted zookeepers at the iconic zoo by giving birth to a healthy baby girl. 

The second-time mum, whose lockdown pregnancy took centre stage in Thursday’s episode, went into labour late on Sunday 20 September before giving birth to the adorable calf – given the name ‘Ede’ by zookeepers – the following morning.  

After spotting that Oni was in labour, dedicated keepers kept a watchful eye overnight on CCTV - rejoicing when tiny hooves and stripy legs began to emerge following a 12-hour vigil. The wide-eyed calf took its first wobbly steps minutes later and was tottering around confidently soon after. 

ZSL okapi keeper Gemma Metcalf said: “Like all okapis, Oni had a long pregnancy - close to 16 months - so we’ve been excitedly waiting for Ede for a long time.  

“As viewers saw last week, her lockdown pregnancy posed some logistical challenges for our team, but despite the Zoo being closed we remained by her side to make sure she had the highest standard of care throughout her third trimester - we’re delighted that both mother and baby are now doing so well.” 

Episode 1 of the acclaimed documentary saw zookeepers and vets come together over Microsoft Teams to plan and perform a vital ultrasound on Oni during lockdown, while ensuring everyone involved remained two metres apart – coincidentally the length of an okapi. 

“Oni has always been a star in our eyes, but while she’s currently shining on screen she’s also excelling off-screen - at being a brilliant mum. 

“Ede is already a feisty young calf and has been bouncing happily around the stables, but Oni is keeping her in their cosy indoor dens until she feels Ede is ready to explore their lush outdoor paddocks - we can’t wait for our visitors to see the newest addition to the zoo family.” 

Ede’s birth is exciting news for London’s zoo, but even more important for the global breeding programme for the species, which ensures a healthy population of okapi in zoos across the world. Okapi, found only in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, are classified as Endangered by the IUCN, with their survival threatened by habitat loss and hunting. 

Episode 1 of London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year is available to watch on the ITV Hub now, with episode 2 scheduled for broadcast on Thursday 1 October.  

ZSL London Zoo reopened to the public on Monday 15 June after an unprecedented three months of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown. The loss of income put the charity zoo under huge financial pressure as they continued to provide the highest level of care for their animals. Now open to limited numbers only, ZSL, the international conservation charity behind the Zoo, is calling on the public to help ensure they stay open by booking a ticket, joining as a member or donating to ZSL at www.zsl.org    


Okapi Calf Arrives At Marwell Zoo - And It's a Girl!

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (17)

Marwell Zoo is celebrating the arrival of an endangered Okapi calf - and it's a girl!

Te female calf has been named Niari, which means 'rare' in an African language. It is also the name of a region within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Okapis are found.

First-time mother Daphne and her calf are both doing well, and they are bonding in a behind-the-scenes habitat.

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (12)

Zoo Photographer - Credit Jason Brown - Okapi Calf (33)Photo Credit: Jason Brown

Animal keeper Phil Robbins said, “We know guests are desperate to see the pair, but we want to make sure Daphne and Niari enjoy some peace and quiet, as this is essential in the first few weeks of the nesting period.”

“Okapis are very shy animals. As such, we prefer to keep Okapi dams and calves in an isolated environment to reduce noise and stress levels,” he added.

Okapis give birth to a single calf after a 14-month gestation period. An Okapi calf can be on its feet and suckling within half an hour of being born. In the wild, the mother will leave her calf in a hiding place to nest, returning regularly to allow the calf to nurse.

Only when they are 30-40 days old do Okapi calves defecate for the first time. This unique adaptation may keep predators from sniffing out the hidden newborn until the calf has grown and gained strength.

Okapis are relatives of Giraffes and are found only in the rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Okapis as Endangered due to illegal mining, logging, and human settlement, which degrades their forest habitat. Okapis are also hunted for bushmeat by local people. Armed conflicts in the region have inhibited conservation actions.  

See more photos of the Okapi calf below.

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Chester Zoo's Top 10 Baby Animals of 2018

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have celebrated an unprecedented number of births in 2018, including some of the world’s rarest and most at-risk species.

1. Precious sun bear cub Kyra is first of her kind to be born in the UK (8)

Sun Bear

Adorable cub Kyra was the first Sun Bear to be born in the UK. Her birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and people around the globe watched Kyra’s first moments with her mom. Kyra’s parents, Milli and Toni, were both rescued from poachers in Cambodia.    

Conservationists estimate that less than 1,000 Sun Bears remain in the wild across Southeast Asia. Deforestation and commercial hunting for their body parts have decimated their numbers.

2. Baby Stevie is the arrival of the decade… for Chester’s chimpanzees  (3)

Chimpanzee

Critically endangered Western Chimpanzee Stevie was the first of her kind to be born at Chester Zoo in nearly 10 years.

Stevie’s birth followed a scientific project, spanning several years, which carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe. The study confirmed that the troop of Chimps at Chester Zoo is the highly-threatened West African subspecies – one of the rarest in the world – establishing them as a critically important breeding population. It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees now remain in the wild.

3. Elephant calf Anjan astonishes scientists after being born three months after expected due date (2)

Asian Elephant

After an unusually long pregnancy believed to have lasted 25 months, Asian Elephant Thi Hi Way gave birth to a healthy male calf, who keepers named Anjan.

A major Chester Zoo project in Assam, northern India, has successfully found ways to eliminate conflict between local communities and the nearby Asian Elephant population, offering a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.

4. Greater one-horned rhino calf Akeno gives new hope to species (2)

Greater One-horned Rhino

The momentous birth of Greater One-horned Rhino calf Akeno, born to mom Asha, was captured on CCTV cameras at the zoo.

Keepers watched as Asha delivered her calf safely onto to soft bedding after a 16-month-long gestation and 20-minute labor.

At one stage, the Greater One-horned Rhino was hunted almost to extinction and less than 200 survived in the wild. Thankfully, steps to protect the Rhinos were taken just in time and today there are around 3,500 in India and Nepal.

5. Secretive okapi calf Semuliki is a star in stripes (2)

Okapi

A rare Okapi calf named Semuliki arrived to first-time parents K’tusha and Stomp. The Okapi is found only deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its highly secretive nature contributed to it being completely unknown to science until 1901.

Despite being a national symbol and protected under Congolese law, Okapi populations declined in the wild by nearly 50% over the past two decades and the species is now listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

6. Tiny forest dragons help uncover new information about the species (4)
Bell’s Anglehead Lizards

A clutch of rare baby  Bell’s Anglehead Lizards – also known as Borneo Forest Dragons – hatched at the zoo, helping conservationists uncover more about the species’ breeding patterns, life cycle and habits.

The Lizards’ wild south Asian habitat however, is being decimated to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations – a threat which is pushing many species in the region to the very edge of existence.

7. Rare silvery gibbon adds to record baby boom at the zoo  (2)
Silvery Gibbon

The birth of a tiny Silvery Gibbon astonished visitors to the zoo who were able to admire the infant just minutes after its birth. 

Conservationists hailed the arrival of this highly endangered primate, with just 4,000 of its kind now remaining on the island of Java, Indonesia, where the species is now listed as endangered by the IUCN.

8. Fluffy flamingo chicks are pretty in pink  (2)

Flamingos

Keepers were tickled pink by the arrival of 21 Flamingo chicks. Each of the fluffy newcomers was carefully hand fed by the zoo’s bird experts four times a day for five weeks until they were developed enough to fully feed for themselves.

Flamingo chicks are white or grey in color when they first hatch, resembling little balls of cotton wool, and begin to develop their famous pink plumage at around six months old.

9. Tiny babirusa triplets arrive in zoo ‘first’ (3)

Babirusa

The first set of Babirusa triplets were born at the zoo, a huge boost to the species which has experienced a recent population crash on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Once considered fairly common, the rapid decline comes as result of hunting for their meat and habitat loss, which has seen Babirusas disappear from many parts of the island.

10. Black rhino birth a surprise to visitors  (5)

Eastern Black Rhino

The arrival of Jumaane, a rare Eastern Black Rhino calf, left a handful of lucky zoo visitors in shock as his birth took place right in front of them.

Conservationists now estimate that fewer than 650 Eastern Black Rhino remain across Africa – a staggeringly low number driven by an increase in poaching to meet demand for rhino horn, which supplies the traditional Asian medicine market.

The birth of Jumaane is another vital boost to the Europe-wide breeding program which is crucial for the conservation of this critically endangered species.


Denver Zoo Animal Moms 'Labor' on Labor Day

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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.

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4_Romakari_1Photo Credits: Denver Zoo

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.


Shy Okapi Calf Arrives at Zoo Tampa

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ZooTampa at Lowry Park welcomed a female Okapi calf on August 21. The calf was born to parents Betty and Zach who arrived at the zoo in 2006 and are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a program designed to create sustainable, genetically diverse populations of rare animals. The baby Okapi’s birth draws much-needed attention to this little-known, endangered species.

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Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 2Photo Credit: Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park



Betty’s prenatal care included regular ultrasounds, a high-calorie diet and, and for the first time in this species, a milk-testing method used in Horses and Rhinos to predict Betty’s calving date.

“By increasing Betty’s prenatal care, we saw physical changes that predicted calving,” Dr. Ray Ball, D.V.M., vice president of medical sciences and senior veterinarian at ZooTampa said. “This included a dramatic change in her mammary glands and her hindquarters getting softer in preparation for the birth. The milk sampling also allowed us to determine her milk was good quality and helped us evaluate Betty’s overall health.”

Although Okapi are shy by nature, Betty is quite comfortable with zookeepers and allowed them to collect milk samples used in the testing. Zookeepers often build strong bonds with the animals they care for which enables higher quality of care for each individual animal.

Okapi (pronounced oh-COP-ee) are the only living relatives of Giraffes and are found only in the remote Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Studying Okapi is a challenge due to their remote location and ongoing conflict in the region.

Their zebra-striped legs provide camouflage within the forest’s dense greenery.  “As a natural defense against predators, Okapi mothers hide their calves away in nests. The calf will spend its time in the nest leaving only to nurse,” said Chris Massaro, General Curator at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

Conservationists estimate that 10,000 – 35,000 Okapi live within protected reserves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Due to human encroachment and hunting, Okapi numbers are declining. The International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN) lists Okapi as Endangered.

ZooTampa participates in the Okapi Conservation Project, an international effort to protect the species from extinction, as part of its mission to protect and conserve endangered and threatened wildlife.