July 2018: Okapi

Scientific Name Okapia johnstoni
Alternate Name Atti, Bull (Male), Calf (Young), Congolese Giraffe, Dwarf Giraffe, Forest Giraffe, Makapi, O’Api, Zebra Giraffe
Collective Name Corps, Herd, Journey, Totter, Tower
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Giraffidae Okapia
Africa Forest
1.5-1.7 m. 4.6-5.6 ft. 180-356 kg. 397-785 lb.
2-2.5 m. 6.6-8.2 ft. 15-30 yr. 8 yr. (Generation)
Endangered Solitary Diurnal
Decreasing Herbivore
Fore Hind

The okapi (Okapia johnstoni,) is the closest living relative to the giraffe and shares many similarities with the long-necked animal, including a long, violet-black tongue and an elongated neck that help it reach the foliage from trees and shrubs. Nicknamed the “forest giraffe,” this unusual ungulate is endemic to the central forests of Africa and are shy, elusive creatures that prefer to hide away in solitary in the jungle’s dense vegetation. Because of their reclusive lifestyle, much of what is known about okapis has been observed in zoos. Listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, okapi face threats from habitat disturbance and hunting.

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