Rare okapi calf born at San Antonio Zoo

Endangered species is sometimes referred to as ‘African Unicorn’

SAN ANTONIO – A rare okapi calf was born at the San Antonio Zoo earlier this week — a conservation win for an endangered species.

San Antonio Zoo officials made the announcement Wednesday, saying the male calf had been born on Sept. 2 to first-time okapi parents Ludimi and Epulu.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this adorable okapi calf into our San Antonio Zoo family,” said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. “We invite everyone to join us in this extraordinary journey on our social platforms and soon at the zoo as we closely observe the calf’s growth and development.”

The baby, who will get his Texas nickname at this year’s 41st Annual Zoobilation Ball on November 10, will remain behind the scenes while he bonds with his mother.

The zoo will announce his debut when the time comes for the young okapi to begin exploring his habitat, according to a press release.

Despite their zebra-like legs, okapi are actually more closely related to giraffes.

“Often referred to as the ‘African Unicorn’ due to their elusive nature, okapis were unknown to the Western world until the 20th century when they were officially discovered by Western scientists in 1901. Today, they face significant threats to their survival, including poaching, habitat destruction, and human encroachment on their natural habitat,” zoo officials said.

According to the Observatory for Central Africa Forests (OFAC), the Congo Basin Rainforests are currently at risk of losing over a quarter of its ecosystem by 2050 due to deforestation. Illegal logging, mining, urban expansion, the bushmeat trade, and agricultural development are the primary factors contributing to this alarming destruction, the press release states.

The Unesco World Heritage Convention estimates as little as 30,000 okapis are left in the wild.

More headlines:

Recommended Videos