Smaller populations exist west and south of the Congo River. The giraffe, having a short body and great height, could not adopt the normal ruminant gait….  Although generally tranquil, the okapi can kick and butt with its head to show aggression. Grooming is a common practice, focused at the earlobes and the neck. 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. (200 to 300 kg). Occupies 13,700 square kilometers (5,290 square miles) in DRC. The economy of Libya is based on oil production. It has a long neck, and large, flexible ears. 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. 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 is followed by mounting and copulation. 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. The buttocks, thighs, and tops of the forelegs are horizontally striped with black and white, and the lower parts of the legs are white with black rings above the hooves. Here the middle two (b and c) and the first and last (a and d) actions of the normal walking pattern occur together.
Okapi has become the flagship species for the conservation of the lturi ecosystem in the Congo Basin. Other areas of occurrence are the Rubi Tele Hunting Reserve and the Abumombanzi Reserve. Samotherium).  They prefer to feed in treefall gaps. Although okapis are restricted to older rainforests characterized by closed high canopies, they can tolerate limited temporary human disturbances (such as those that accompany small-scale seed- and fruit-harvesting operations) that occur within these areas. The Okapi has been classified as an Endangered Species by the IUCN.  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. 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 okapi is a medium-sized giraffid, standing 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) tall at the shoulder. Sir Harry Johnston himself called it a Helladotherium, or a relative of other extinct giraffids. 2015), Rate of decline is estimated to have exceeded 50% over three generations (24 years), Habitat loss due to logging and human settlement, Fully protected species under Congolese law, Lives within protected areas, though illegal poaching occurs, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Réserve de Faune à Okapis; or RFO), Small populations in other protected areas, Includes illegal occupation of protected areas, Armed conflict, war, civil unrest, displaced human populations (Hart and Mwinyihali 2001), Presence of illegal armed groups in and around key protected areas, Prevent scientific work, including census surveys and monitoring, In 2012, attack on Réserve de Faune à Okapis (RFO) headquarters, 7 people and all 14 okapi in managed care killed. Females become sexually mature at about age 2, whereas males reach this stage at age 3. The okapi is an endangered species–but like their cousins, the giraffes–have received relatively little conservation attention. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species considers the okapi an endangered species. Juveniles start taking solid food from three months, and weaning takes place at six months. , The Bronx Zoo was the first zoo in North America to exhibit okapi, in 1937. Gijzen & Smet (1974)Hart and Mwinyihali (2001)IUCN Redlist (2008). It serves as the flagship species (a popular species that has become a symbol for the conservation of a region) for the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Global Library, Email the librarians at email@example.com, https://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/okapi, International Environment Library Consortium, http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/drc___okapi___dec_32_com_7a.pdf, global conservation strategy to save okapi, IUCN SCC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group. From this skull, the okapi was correctly classified as a relative of the giraffe; in 1901, the species was formally recognized as Okapia johnstoni. All rights reserved. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Better late than never? , The Okapi Conservation Project, established in 1987, works towards the conservation of the okapi, as well as the growth of the indigenous Mbuti people. Juveniles start taking solid food from 3 months, and weaning takes place at 6 months.
The species is most concentrated in the forests of the Ituri, Aruwimi, and Nepoko basins. Omissions? 'Forest Giraffe' Now Endangered: Okapi Populations Drop 50 Percent in 18 Years. The aim was to discuss the management of captive okapis and arrange support for okapi conservation. Their future depends on the protection of their forest habitat. Horn development in males takes 1 year after birth. The large auditory bullae allow a strong sense of hearing. Corrections? It is estimated that 3-4,000 Okapi live on the OWR, with their total population being between 10-15,000. Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. , In 2008, it was recorded in Virunga National Park. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Females are typically a little heavier at 495 to 770 lbs. The okapi has large palatine sinuses, unique among the giraffids. 2015), Difficult in a country affected by political unrest, Conservationists risk being harmed while doing scientific work, "Guess-timates" of over 10,000 (East 1999) and 35,000-50,000 (Hart 2013), Undergoing severe population declines (Mallon et al.  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. These pages are part of the San Diego Zoo Global Library website. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. They are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources classifies the okapi as endangered. Updates? 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. Okapis are primarily diurnal, but may be active for a few hours in darkness. , The earliest members of the Giraffidae first appeared in the early Miocene in Africa, having diverged from the superficially deer-like climacoceratids.  They have had one of the most successful breeding programs, with 13 calves having been born since 1991. Its weight ranges from 200 to 350 kg (440 to 770 lb). In the Ituri forest, the okapi feeds mainly upon the plant families Acanthaceae, Ebenaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Flacourtiaceae, Loganiaceae, Rubiaceae, and Violaceae. , Though Johnston did not see an okapi himself, he did manage to obtain pieces of striped skin and eventually a skull. , The male is protective of his territory, but allows females to pass through the domain to forage.  These features serve as an effective camouflage amidst dense vegetation. Okapi, (Okapia johnstoni), cud-chewing hoofed mammal that is placed along with the giraffe in the family Giraffidae (order Artiodactyla). Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Giraffids spread into Europe and Asia by the middle Miocene in a first radiation. 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. 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). In the wet season, it visits rocky inselbergs that offer forage uncommon elsewhere. 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. , In 2016, a genetic study found that the common ancestor of giraffe and okapi lived about 11.5 million years ago.
, The okapi inhabits canopy forests at altitudes of 500–1,500 m (1,600–4,900 ft). However, ecologists note that okapis are probably vulnerable to large-scale intensive disturbances, such as logging and human settlement, that reduce their available habitat.
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