Okapi Baby Born At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge proudly announced the birth of a rare Okapi baby yesterday, which just happened to be World Okapi Day! This adorable little guy made his grand entrance on October 1st and has stayed closely by mom Zelda’s side. He weighed in at a whopping 54 pounds. Common to the species, he was up and walking around within just an hour of his birth.
What exactly is an Okapi?
While Okapis are striped like a zebra, the giraffe is actually the closest related animal to them. Okapis are also known as the ghosts of the forest in their natural rainforest habitat of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their population has severely declined in recent years due to civil unrest in the area, along with illegal logging, mining, and poaching in the rainforest. They are one of the world’s nearly 50,000 endangered species. Take a look at a few other interesting facts about these amazing, gentle creatures.
Disney’s Okapi Conservation Efforts
The Disney Conservation Fund, along with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, have been at the forefront of okapi conservation for quite some time. Disney even has a long standing relationship with the Okapi Conservation Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This new calf’s parents, mom Zelda and dad Mandazi, were specifically chosen to breed through a program called the Species Survival Plan, overseen by the AZA. This ensures that breeding of threatened and endangered species is done responsibly.
What’s Next For Disney’s Newest Baby?
The newest member of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and his mom are getting some much needed rest and bonding time in a backstage habitat for the next few months before joining the rest of the animals on the savanna at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Keepers want to ensure that baby and mom are indeed bonding and the calf is nursing well. They will be monitoring him to see that he meets specific maturation milestones, just like a newborn human. Like all new Disney animal babies, his name will be chosen at a later date.
Take a look at this adorable video highlighting Disney’s newest resident:
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