The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a large country – the second largest in Africa – and is located in the centre of the continent. Okapis are the favorite food of a leopard. They prefer dense forests located at an altitude of 500 m to 1500 m (1,600-4,900 ft). The Okapi Wildlife Reserve forms one fifth of the Ituri forest.  Based on the description of the okapi by Pygmies, who referred to it as a "horse", Sclater named the species Equus johnstoni. Some females have knobbly bumps in their place. They are reclusive animals, and prefer areas of thick forest. In captivity, estrous cycles recur every 15 days. Along with having a relatively long neck compared to its body size, the most striking feature of the Okapi is the horizontal stripes that are particularly visible on their behinds and give this … Results of research conducted in the late 1980s in a mixed Cynometra forest indicated that the okapi population density averaged 0.53 animals per square kilometre. Not discovered until the 20th century, the okapi's closest relative is actually the giraffe. Specifically they are found in the Ituri rainforest. Despite its Deer-like appearance the Okapi is actually one of the last remaining ancestors of the Giraffe, which is the tallest animal on Earth. Working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and nature Be sure to watch the video to see this incredible animal in its natural environment. There are supposedly 60,000 okapis left in the world but it is hard to be exact because okapis live in such a dense rainforest you cannot really keep track. They are rare animals who spend much of their lives hiding. Despite their ability to walk, mothers hide newborns in dense vegetation and return frequently to allow the calves to nurse.  Remains of a carcass were later sent to London by Johnston and became a media event in 1901. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to population declines. Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. 2. Okapi are the only living relative of the giraffe. Okapis have long necks (although not nearly as long a giraffe’s) for reaching foliage in trees and tall bushes. Okapis may live as long as 20–30 years. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to a decline in populations. Males migrate continuously, while females are sedentary. A threat that has emerged quite recently is the presence of illegal armed groups around protected areas, inhibiting conservation and monitoring actions.  Male okapis have short, hair-covered horns called ossicones, less than 15 cm (5.9 in) in length.  Subsequently, zoologist Ray Lankester declared that the okapi represented an unknown genus of the Giraffidae, which he placed in its own genus, Okapia, and assigned the name Okapia johnstoni to the species. Females become sexually mature at about age 2, whereas males reach this stage at age 3. Juveniles start taking solid food from three months, and weaning takes place at six months.  They have had one of the most successful breeding programs, with 13 calves having been born since 1991. They are diurnal (active during the day). Currently, wild okapis can only be found within the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they live in the dense forests of the northern and central recesses. Okapis are herbivores (plant eaters). Photo by e7onions23. MORE DECKS TO EXPLORE. , The okapi is a medium-sized giraffid, standing 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) tall at the shoulder. The male shows his interest by extending his neck, tossing his head, and protruding one leg forward. , Okapis are primarily diurnal, but may be active for a few hours in darkness. The okapi's typical lifespan is 20–30 years. The Okapi WIldlife Reserve in the Ituri forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a UNESCO World heritage site. It is similar in shape to a horse, but has a longer neck. Okapis are solitary and stay far away from predators as much as possible. Both are in the Giraffidae family, with girafffes in the Giraffa genus and okapi in the Okapia genus. Diet. Fecal analysis shows that none of those 100 species dominates the diet of the okapi. A majority of the Okapi population is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For other uses, see, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T15188A51140517.en, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Photographic Archives, "First pictures of the okapi or the African 'unicorn, "A New Deal for the Okapi, Africa's "Unicorn, "New hope for the elusive okapi, Congo's mini giraffe", "On an Apparently New Species of Zebra from the Semliki Forest", "The African okapi, a beast unknown to the zoos", "Proceedings of the general meetings for scientific business of the Zoological Society of London", Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, "Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ Part 2C", "Why Is the Okapi Called a Living Fossil", "Giraffe genome sequence reveals clues to its unique morphology and physiology", "Okapi Conservation Strategy and Status Review", "Okapi Added to IUCN'S Endangered Species List", "Infamous elephant poacher turns cannibal in the Congo", "Okapi SSP and EEP International Meeting", http://old.zooantwerpen.be/nl/kweekprogrammas, "Of okapis and men: Antwerp Zoo helps preserve endangered species | Flanders Today", "Bronx Zoo Debuts Its Baby Okapi > Newsroom", "Baby Okapi Makes Public Debut at Bronx Zoo", "Brookfield Zoo Celebrates Its 28th Okapi Birth Since 1959", Searching for the okapi (Okapia johnstoni) in Semuliki National Park, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Okapi&oldid=991591807, Endemic fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mammals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2017, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 November 2020, at 21:25. Okapis live solitary lives, and only get together to mate. ActiveWild.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon stores. They are native to the Democratic Republic of Congo and are typically found within the Ituri Forest, according to the Rainforest Alliance. The okapi is …  Several important primitive giraffids existed more or less contemporaneously in the Miocene (23–10 million years ago), including Canthumeryx, Giraffokeryx, Palaeotragus, and Samotherium. The Okapi is an elusive herbivore that is found in a small pocket of tropical mountain forest in central Africa. In the Ituri forest, the okapi feeds mainly upon the plant families Acanthaceae, Ebenaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Flacourtiaceae, Loganiaceae, Rubiaceae, and Violaceae. The okapi’s main natural predator is the leopard. Calves are known not to defecate for the first month or two of life, which is hypothesized to help avoid predator detection in their most vulnerable phase of life. Okapis are shy, and the stripes on their body help them hide in the rain forests of central Africa, which is the only place in the world where they are found. , Around 100 okapis are in accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos. Okapis: Okapis are herbivorous mammals that live in the jungles of Central Africa. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. In addition, when okapis interact in … Morphological similarities shared between the giraffe and the okapi include a similar gait – both use a pacing gait, stepping simultaneously with the front and the hind leg on the same side of the body, unlike other ungulates that walk by moving alternate legs on either side of the body – and a long, black tongue (longer in the okapi) useful in plucking buds and leaves, as well as for grooming. Many zoos in North America and Europe currently have okapis in captivity. Specifically, they live in the Ituri, Aruwimi, and Nepoko basins. Horn development in males takes 1 year after birth. The name ‘okapi’ comes from the native word for the animal, ‘o’api’.  They are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed. The okapis tongue is 18 inches long, and can reach both it eyes and ears. Active Wild Pinterest Active Wild Facebook. Okapis avoid areas populated by humans. , This article is about the animal. The Giraffe is the only living relative of Okapis although they resemble the body structure and coat of a Zebra. Okapis are a species of animal native to the Pride Lands. Another radiation began in the Pliocene, but was terminated by a decline in diversity in the Pleistocene. Okapi’s live a a small area in the very dense rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. Although the okapi was unknown to the Western world until the 20th century, it may have been depicted since the early fifth century BCE on the façade of the Apadana at Persepolis, a gift from the Ethiopian procession to the Achaemenid kingdom. There aren't many of them, even in their primary residence outside of the Pride Lands. The leopard is the main natural predator of the okapi. It has a brown coat with black and white stripes on its legs. Where do okapi live ? Johnston was puzzled by the okapi tracks the natives showed him; while he had expected to be on the trail of some sort of forest-dwelling horse, the tracks were of a cloven-hoofed beast. “How I live there” Okapi are solitary animals that live in habitat not easily penetrated. It occasionally uses seasonally inundated areas, but does not occur in gallery forests, swamp forests, and habitats disturbed by human settlements. They prefer altitudes at 500 to 1,000 m in the montane rainforests. Okapis are hunted for food and for their skins. A must for all animal fans: awesome animal facts and information delivered direct to your inbox. The udder of the pregnant female starts swelling 2 months before parturition, and vulval discharges may occur. The face, throat, and chest are greyish white. Learn about other African animals at our African Animals page. The Okapis live in the Ituri rainforest in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Do okapis live in many places of the world? Okapis have an impressively long prehensile tongue that is black in color. The Maryland Zoo has one male okapi on exhibit in the African Journey near the giraffes. What are okapi related to? The tongue is also used to groom their ears and eyes. Okapi newborns stand within the first 30 minutes after birth, and will nurse within the first hour.  In 1986, Okapia was finally established as a sister genus of Giraffa on the basis of cladistic analysis. Rut in males and estrus in females does not depend on the season. 1 Physical characteristics 2 Social characteristics 3 Information 3.1 The Lion King II: Simba's Pride 3.2 The Lion Guard 3.2.1 "The Imaginary Okapi" 4 Behind the scenes 5 References The okapi is a four-legged animal of moderate size. Okapis . The okapi is native to the Ituri Rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo—the only place where it can be found in the wild—and has thick, oily fur to stay dry in the rain. Although the two species look very different, they do share certain characteristics, having similar tongues, teeth, and horns. As browsers, they consume between 45 and 60 lbs (20 and 27 kg) of vegetation each day. The aim was to discuss the management of captive okapis and arrange support for okapi conservation. This may seem like a large number, but considering that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a big country, you’d be very unlikely to see one if you went there! , Though Johnston did not see an okapi himself, he did manage to obtain pieces of striped skin and eventually a skull. The scientific name for an okapi is ‘Okapia johnstoni’. If you do manage to see one, the first thing you’ll notice about an okapi are the striking colours of its coat. The large number of rod cells in the retina facilitate night vision, and an efficient olfactory system is present. The okapi has a weight range of between 200 and 350kg (440 to 770lb). Basic Facts about the Okapi Where do Okapis Live? , Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. New!  The growth rate of calves is appreciably high in the first few months of birth, after which it gradually declines. The average lifespan of an okapi is between 20 and 30 years. Their range runs both north and east of the Congo River, and they can be found mostly in central, northern, and eastern DRC.  It has a long neck, and large and flexible ears. The Okapi can also be found in areas where there is a slow-moving fresh water source, but the range of the Okapi is very much limited by natural barriers, with unsuitable habitats on all four sides trapping these animals into the 63,000 square kilometre Ituri Rainforest. They have also been known to live in swamps, savannas, and woodlands. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. Females are generally slightly larger than males. Giraffidae are ruminants, and share a common ancestor with deer and bovids. Answer. Much confusion arose regarding the taxonomical status of this newly discovered animal. In 2012, poachers attacked staff and animals at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Rut in males and estrous in females does not depend on the season.  They prefer to feed in treefall gaps. Wiki User Answered . The gestational period is around 440 to 450 days long, following which usually a single calf is born. Individuals may engage in Flehmen response, a visual expression in which the animal curls back its upper lips, displays the teeth, and inhales through the mouth for a few seconds. They are endemic to the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they occur across the central, northern, and eastern regions.  Male home ranges average 13 km2 (5.0 sq mi), while female home ranges average 3–5 km2 (1.2–1.9 sq mi). , In Asia, only two zoos in Japan exhibit okapis; Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and Zoorasia in Yokohama. The okapi has been known to feed on over 100 species of plants, some of which are known to be poisonous to humans and other animals. The okapi can live up to 20 to 30 years. The video below shows an okapi in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Okapis live in areas of tropical rainforest. The coat is a chocolate to reddish brown, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs and white ankles. Although the okapi has striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. However, unlike giraffes, only male Okapis have ossicones. They are native to the Ituri rainforest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  In June 2012, a gang of poachers attacked the headquarters of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, killing six guards and other staff as well as all 14 okapis at their breeding center. Working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and nature  It is fully protected under Congolese law. It is the most closely related to the giraffe, but resembles a zebra.Because it’s very cautious, and, thus, difficult to capture, it has been called the African unicorn for many years. The Okapi is located in the rainforests of Congo in Africa. The main area of okapi is concentrated in the Congo, but the species is also present in some natural reserves of West and East Africa. Both are in the Giraffidae … The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is a mammal located in the Ituri Rainforest in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. They mainly live alone and are never found in herds. These rare mammals, which resemble giraffes, feed on leaves, grasses, shoots, fruits, and ferns. The secretive nature of okapis and the difficulty most humans have of traveling in their habitat have made okapis hard to observe in the wild. Most okapis live in the northern regions of the country. The okapi’s closest living relative is the giraffe. All Rights Reserved.  Although generally tranquil, the okapi can kick and butt with its head to show aggression. It is believed that there are currently about 25,000 okapis in the wild. (It’s completely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and we’ll never share your details.). It was once found in the country of Uganda, but it is believed to be extinct there. The okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe; Female okapis are actually larger than male okapis. It’s absolutely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and we’ll never share information with anyone else. , Okapia johnstoni was first described as Equus johnstoni by English zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater in 1901. Join the FREE Active Wild Newsletter List. Okapis are mainly found in central Africa. , The okapi shows several adaptations to its tropical habitat. The okapis dark purpli… The main constituents of the diet are woody, dicotyledonous species; monocotyledonous plants are not eaten regularly. Wild okapi live exclusively in the Ituri Rainforest in northwest Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. It is said to be the most biologically diverse country in Africa. American Badger Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information. Flying Squirrels Facts: Meet The Gliding Rodents Of North America! Published on Nov 18, 2015. Since then, over 60 births have occurred between the zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, with the most recent being Mosi, a male calf born in early August 2017 at the San Diego Zoo. They don’t make many noises They have scent glands on the bottoms of their feet and a good sense of smell, so they can tell if other okapis are in the area. They are unique in the Ituri Forest as they are the only known mammal that feeds solely on understory vegetation, where they use their 18-inch tongues to selectively browse for suitable plants. The coat of the okapi is sleek and deep brown, … Fur at okapi is able to repel water, due to this the animal does not become wet during the rainy season, the water simply rolls to the ground. Native just to the Ituri rainforests, it was known only to the local people until 1901. Samotherium). The Okapi Conservation Project was established in 1987 to protect okapi populations. The mother consumes the afterbirth and extensively grooms the infant. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) classifies the okapi as Endangered and it is fully protected under Congolese law. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve forms one fifth of the Ituri forest. Join the thousands of Active Wild subscribers who receive free wildlife and science news & info direct to their inboxes! , As in other ruminants, the infant can stand within 30 minutes of birth. The okapi’s long neck enables it to reach food in tall trees and bushes. Females possess hair whorls, and ossicones are absent.  In November 2011, the White Oak Conservation center and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens hosted an international meeting of the Okapi Species Survival Plan and the Okapi European Endangered Species Programme at Jacksonville, which was attended by representatives from zoos from the US, Europe, and Japan. Interdigital glands are present on all four feet, and are slightly larger on the front feet. It is much smaller and shares more external similarities with the deer and bovids than with the giraffe. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Maiko National Park support significant populations of the okapi, though a steady decline in numbers has occurred due to several threats. As the vocal cords are poorly developed, vocal communication is mainly restricted to three sounds — "chuff" (contact calls used by both sexes), "moan" (by females during courtship) and "bleat" (by infants under stress). In captivity, Okapis exhibit social grooming of necks and ear-lobes, due to the enclosed captive environment. Okapis are classified as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). From this skull, the okapi was correctly classified as a relative of the giraffe; in 1901, the species was formally recognized as Okapia johnstoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species considers the okapi an endangered species. Its weight ranges from 200 to 350 kg (440 to 770 lb). 1. Copyright © 2020 ActiveWild.com. , In 1901, Sclater presented a painting of the okapi before the Zoological Society of London that depicted its physical features with some clarity. 2614. , In 2016, a genetic study found that the common ancestor of giraffe and okapi lived about 11.5 million years ago. Only male okapis have horns.  Males often mark territories and bushes with their urine, while females use common defecation sites. Like giraffes, okapis have skin-covered horns called ossicones. A typical okapi will stand 1.5-2m (4.9-6.5ft) high. Conservation. The okapi has large palatine sinuses, unique among the giraffids. In captivity, estrous cycles recur every 15 days. Okapis are only found in one country: the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They eat a variety of trees, grasses, fungi and fruits. It is used to pull food down to the animal’s mouth. This article contains Okapi facts and is part of our African Animals series. It stands around 1.5m (5 feet) tall at the shoulders and its body is around 2.5m (8 feet) in length. Click on the photo below to discover this week’s animal! However, British American explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley had made the first report of the animal as early as 1890. , When the British special commissioner in Uganda, Sir Harry Johnston, discovered some Pygmy inhabitants of the Congo being abducted by a showman for exhibition, he rescued them and promised to return them to their homes. The zoo has had 28 okapi births since 1959. However, the species was placed in its own subfamily Okapiinae, by Swedish palaeontologist Birger Bohlin in 1926, mainly due to the lack of a cingulum, a major feature of the palaeotragids. 8. The large auditory bullae allow a strong sense of hearing. The species was first identified (recognised as being a new species) in 1901. The juveniles are kept in hiding, and nursing takes place infrequently. The okapi feeds during the day on leaves, soft twigs, shoots, fruits, and plants. Wild okapis exist only in the central, northern, and eastern … In captivity, Okapis exhibit social grooming of necks and ear-lobes, due to the enclosed captive environment. Easily recognisable by its zebra-like markings, the okapi is actually more closely related to the giraffe. The two genera together with Palaeotragus constitute the tribe Giraffini. Okapis are herbivores, and do not eat meat. Strictly herbivores, okapis’ diets consist of leaves, buds, twigs, fruits and other understory vegetation. Top Answer. The Ituri Forest, in northeastern DRC, is home to a large part of the world’s okapi population. Although the okapi has striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. The tail comprises 30 to 42cm (11.8-16.5in) of this length. The okapi’s biggest threat is from humans spreading out into their habitat. However, in a rainforest environment, the okapi’s stripes allow it to blend in with the rays of light that filter through the trees. The rest of its body is a deep plum red colour, apart from its white face. , The gestational period is around 440 to 450 days long, following which usually a single calf is born, weighing 14–30 kg (31–66 lb). Grooming is a common practice, focused at the earlobes and the neck. Sir Harry Johnston himself called it a Helladotherium, or a relative of other extinct giraffids. , Other North American Zoos that exhibit and breed okapis include the Denver Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado); Houston Zoo, Dallas Zoo and San Antonio Zoo (Texas); Disney's Animal Kingdom, Miami Zoo and Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (Florida); Los Angeles Zoo (California); Saint Louis Zoo (Missouri); Cincinnati Zoo and Columbus Zoo (Ohio); Memphis Zoo (Tennessee); Maryland Zoo (Maryland) and The Sedgwick County Zoo and Tanganyika Wildlife Park (Kansas); Roosevelt Park Zoo (South Dakota), Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (Nebraska); Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia). The Okapi was not discovered by the Western world until the end of 19th century. Click here for info: Subscribe to Active Wild. Its hind quarters and front legs have black and white ‘zebra’ stripes. The okapi’s long tongue is prehensile, and is used for reaching up for food and removing leaves from branches. Okapi's dwell straight in the heart of Africa in the dense rainforests. The okapi’s long neck allows it to reach foliage in trees and tall bushes. Click the picture above for more details & to view free sample pages! , In 1902, Swiss zoologist Charles Immanuel Forsyth Major suggested the inclusion of O. johnstoni in the extinct giraffid subfamily Palaeotraginae. Parturition takes 3–4 hours, and the female stands throughout this period, though she may rest during brief intervals. These markings, which seem very bold to us, give the animal great camouflage when hiding in the partial sunlight that filters through its dense rain forest habitat. This is followed by mounting and copulation. Share. It is also common in the Wamba and Epulu areas. Follow the link below to find out more and to sign up! Why does the okapi have zebra-like stripes? Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) – the African unicornOkapi – a mysterious animal living in the Ituri tropical rainforests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.  Teeth are low-crowned and finely cusped, and efficiently cut tender foliage. , For years, Europeans in Africa had heard of an animal that they came to call the African unicorn. They are most commonly found in theWamba and Epuluareas. They live up to 25 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity. Okapis typically live as solitary animals, but have been known to feed in small groups on certain occasions. Most okapis live in the northern regions of the country. In the wet season, it visits rocky inselbergs that offer forage uncommon elsewhere. Staple foods comprise shrubs and lianas.  The generic name Okapia derives either from the Mbuba name okapi or the related Lese Karo name o'api, while the specific name (johnstoni) is in recognition of Johnston, who first acquired an okapi specimen for science from the Ituri Forest. The Pygmies fed Johnston's curiosity about the animal mentioned in Stanley's book. Let’s find out more about this rarely seen creature. Although generally similar to adults, newborn calves have false eyelashes, a long dorsal mane, and long white hairs in the stripes. The okapi, or Okapia johnston, live in thick evergreen forests at elevations of 1,600 to 5,000 feet where the temperature is a mild average of 75 degrees each day and the air is moist with humidity. There are small groups of animals west and south of the Congo, but they are highly fragmented from the rest of the population. The Okapi is an elusive animal that inhabits the rainforests of central Africa. Wild Okapis Only Live in One Country. PRESENTATION OUTLINE.  The okapi is sometimes referred to as a living fossil, as it has existed as a species over a long geological time period, and morphologically resembles more primitive forms (e.g.  These features serve as an effective camouflage amidst dense vegetation. , The okapi is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it occurs north and east of the Congo River. While both sexes possess horns in the giraffe, only males bear horns in the okapi. At least 2 inches of rain fall each month and sometimes as much as 66 inches of rain falls in a year. The stripes may also help a young okapi follow its mother through the dark forest, and they may help adults find each other, too. , In 2008, it was recorded in Virunga National Park. Found in the rainforests of the Congo region, the okapi was unknown to science until 1901, when British explorer Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston sent the first bits of hide to the British Museum. Newborn calves do not defecate until … Female okapis are slightly taller and heavier than the males. This allowed scientists to identify the okapi as a new species. , The Okapi Conservation Project, established in 1987, works towards the conservation of the okapi, as well as the growth of the indigenous Mbuti people. Okapi is often called a forest giraffe, which indicates its propensity to dwell in a wooded area. Okapis live in the tropical rainforests in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. , The earliest members of the Giraffidae first appeared in the early Miocene in Africa, having diverged from the superficially deer-like climacoceratids. Male okapis have short, distinct horn-like protuberances on their heads called ossicones (which share similar features to the giraffe ossicones in terms of formation, structure and function), less than 15 cm (5.9 in) in length. The okapi stands about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall at the shoulder and has a typical body length around 2.5 m (8.2 ft). Okapis have finely tuned senses, so if you’re looking for an okapi, it probably already knows you’re coming! Some okapis have ossicones. The coat is a chocolate to reddish brown, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs and white ankles. It ranges from the Maiko National Park northward to the Ituri rainforest, then through the river basins of the Rubi, Lake Tele, and Ebola to the west and the Ubangi River further north. Okapis live in the clearings and forest areas of the rainforest that are not dense with foliage. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Clouded Leopard Facts For Kids & Students: Pictures, Information & Video, Animals That Start With L: List With Pictures & Facts, Desert Animals: A List Of Animals That Live In The Desert With Pictures & Facts – Plus FREE question sheet, Nine-Banded Armadillo Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information, Bighorn Sheep Facts: Discover The Largest Sheep Native To North America, American Alligator Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information. Download. The okapi is found exclusively in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Okapis: The okapi ( Okapia johnstoni ) is also known as the forest giraffe or sometime the ghost of the jungle. The okapi’s long, black tongue is prehensile (able to grip). Okapis are closely related to giraffes. When scientists first saw native hunters wearing okapi skins, they thought that they were from a new species of zebra. Made for a rain forest: The okapi's home is in the tropical rain forest in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). Okapis often rub their necks against trees, leaving a brown exudate. Therefore, researchers can only estimate how many okapis live there. Like their giraffe cousins, okapis are ruminants—animals with four chambered stomachs that allow the digestion of very tough plant matter. A majority of the Okapi population is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. , The okapi can be easily distinguished from its nearest extant relative, the giraffe. Its coat is a chocolate to reddish brown, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs, and white ankles. , The okapi inhabits canopy forests at altitudes of 500–1,500 m (1,600–4,900 ft). The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae. View Outline. The large caecum and colon help in microbial digestion, and a quick rate of food passage allows for lower cell wall digestion than in other ruminants. Similar to Giraffes, Okapis use their long tongue to clean their ears. Copy. , The San Diego Zoo has exhibited okapis since 1956, and had their first birth of an okapi in 1962. Gazetted areas such as the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Maiko National Park support huge populations. The okapi (/oʊˈkɑːpiː/; Okapia johnstoni), also known as the forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebra giraffe, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. (This means that they are endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.). , The male is protective of his territory, but allows females to pass through the domain to forage. Okapis. Males visit female home ranges at breeding time. It is extinct in Uganda. They have overlapping home ranges and typically occur at densities around 0.6 animals per square kilometre. The okapi , also known as the forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebra giraffe, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. It is thought that there are around 25,000 okapis living in the wild. Free Haiku Deck for PowerPoint Add-In.  The animal was brought to prominent European attention by speculation on its existence found in press reports covering Henry Morton Stanley's journeys in 1887. June 8, 2017 June 7, 2017 admintag The main area of okapi is concentrated in the Congo, but the species is also present in some natural reserves of West and East Africa. Okapis typically live as solitary animals, but have been known to feed in small groups on certain occasions. The Okapi is a fairly large mammal. He confirmed the existence of the okapi and acquired okapi skull and skin specimens. Okapis are hunted for their meat and skins, and like many endangered animals, are also threatened by deforestation. Her milk is very rich in proteins and low in fat. The okapi dwell at an altitude of 500-1000 meters, while in the eastern zone they rise even higher – in mountain rainforests. They are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed. The second part of the okapi’s scientific name comes from Sir Harry H. Johnston, a British explorer and botanist. Jul 9, 2016 - In the wild, okapis live in Central Africa's Ituri rainforest, which is located in the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  However, J. D. Skinner argued that Canthumeryx gave rise to the okapi and giraffe through the latter three genera and that the okapi is the extant form of Palaeotragus. , Female okapis become sexually mature at about one-and-a-half years old, while males reach maturity after two years.  The male and the female begin courtship by circling, smelling, and licking each other. Okapi is a very unusual animal. No Description. The juveniles are kept in hiding, and nursing takes place infrequently. Its average body length is about 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) and its weight ranges from 200 to 350 kg (440 to 770 lb). , The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has also greatly contributed to the captive population of okapis in accredited zoos. Okapis are mainly found in central Africa. , In Europe, zoos that exhibit and breed okapis include Madrid Zoo (Spain), Chester Zoo, London Zoo, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Marwell Zoo, The Wild Place (United Kingdom); Dublin Zoo (Ireland); Berlin Zoo, Frankfurt Zoo, Wilhelma Zoo, Wuppertal Zoo, Cologne Zoo, Leipzig Zoo (Germany) and Antwerp Zoo (Belgium); Zoo Basel (Switzerland); Copenhagen Zoo (Denmark); Rotterdam Zoo, Safaripark Beekse Bergen (Netherlands) and Dvůr Králové Zoo (Czech Republic), Wrocław Zoo (Poland); Bioparc Zoo de Doué, ZooParc de Beauval (France); Lisbon Zoo (Portugal). The okapi population is managed in America by the AZA's Species Survival Plan, a breeding program that works to ensure genetic diversity in the captive population of endangered animals, while the EEP (European studbook) and ISB (Global studbook) are managed by Antwerp Zoo, which was the first zoo to have an Okapi on display (in 1919), as well as one of the most successful in breeding them. The dental formula of the okapi is 0.0.3.33.1.3.3. From head to tail the okapi measures 1.9 to 2.5m (6.2 to 8.2ft). The Ituri Forest, in northeastern DRC, is home to a large part of the world’s okapi population. Okapi are the only living relative of the giraffe. The okapi exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females 4.2 cm (1.7 in) taller on average, slightly redder, and lacking prominent ossicones, instead possessing hair whorls. The okapi’s contrasting colours break up its shape. Okapi is often called a forest giraffe, which indicates its propensity to dwell in a wooded area. Other areas of occurrence are the Rubi Tele Hunting Reserve and the Abumombanzi Reserve. An okapi’s tongue is long enough to reach its eyes and ears. , The Bronx Zoo was the first zoo in North America to exhibit okapi, in 1937. The okapis black and white striped hind quarters provide camouflage in the filtered light of its rainforest habitat. Download Go Live. In his travelogue of exploring the Congo, Stanley mentioned a kind of donkey that the natives called the atti, which scholars later identified as the okapi. It's a zebra, it's a horse ... no, it's an okapi. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OKAPIS . Although it has striped markings similar to those of the zebra, it is more closely related to the giraffe. News and facts about animals, natural history and science. It is said to be the most biologically diverse country in Africa. Giraffids spread into Europe and Asia by the middle Miocene in a first radiation. The Okapi Conservation Project was set up to protect the okapi. Okapis are able to hide very well even from thos… These animals are found in the African rainforest where trees are dense. Okapis are only found in one country: the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Asked by Wiki User. In addition, when okapis interact in … Distribution of the Okapi Wild okapi are found exclusively in the Democratic Republic of Congo. , The IUCN classifies the okapi as endangered. Explorers may have seen the fleeting view of the striped backside as the animal fled through the bushes, leading to speculation that the okapi was some sort of rainforest zebra. According to palaeontologist and author Kathleen Hunt, Samotherium split into Okapia (18 million years ago) and Giraffa (12 million years ago). Out of its natural habitat, the okapi doesn’t look like a creature that likes to stay out of the limelight. The striking stripes make it resemble a zebra. Okapis inhabit canopy forests at altitudes of 500–1,500 m (1,600–4,900 ft). If a predator is looking for prey that is typically mammal-shaped, then it might not notice an okapi hiding in the undergrowth. Smaller populations exist west and south of the Congo River. These features gradually disappear and give way to the general appearance within a year. It has a long neck, and large, flexible ears. Okapis have small heads and big ears. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae. A small population occurs north of the Virunga National Park, but lacks protection due to the presence of armed groups in the vicinity. The okapi is classified Endangered by the IUCN. The dense tropical forest is the main habitat of the animal. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources classifies the okapi as endangered. The dense tropical forest is the main habitat of the animal. 3 4 5. Okapis are primarily diurnal, but may be active for a few hours in darkness. They have hooves and are closely related to giraffes, although they are smaller. Juveniles start taking solid food from 3 months, and weaning takes place at 6 months.