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Rare baby okapi born at the Cincinnati Zoo

It’s the 18th okapi calf born at the zoo since 1989, and the fourth offspring for mom Kuvua, according to the zoo.
Rare baby okapi born at the Cincinnati Zoo
Posted at 9:12 AM, Dec 25, 2023

A baby okapi, a rare and endangered species related to the giraffe, was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden last week. 

It’s the 18th okapi calf born at the zoo since 1989, and the fourth offspring for mom Kuvua, according to the zoo. The baby’s dad is named Kiloro. 

The gender and weight of the calf won’t be known until a neonatal exam is completed, the zoo said. 

“[Kuvua] is an amazing momma,” said Renee Carpenter, the zoo’s senior keeper. “She’s being attentive to the little one’s every need.  The calf is strong and looks healthy. It’s also super soft and fuzzy.”

Mom and baby will continue to bond behind the scenes during the cold months, but visitors will be able to see them in the okapi yard later this spring.

Okapis are classified as threatened due to habitat destruction and poaching, the zoo said. The world population is approximately 15,000.

They are listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. They are mostly native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

he coloration of the species is unique. They are typically reddish-brown horizontal black and white stripes on front and back legs, which help the offspring follow their mothers through the dense forest in the wild. The strips also inspired their nickname, “rainforest zebra.”

Okapis are the only close relative to the giraffe and resemble them in body structure. However they are much shorter and their necks aren’t as long. 

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