Okapi | The Maryland Zoo

“Where I live”

wild okapi live entirely in the Ituri Rainforest in northwest democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. The Maryland Zoo has one male okapi on show in the African Journey near the giraffe .

“How I live there”

Okapi are lonely animals that live in habitat not well penetrated. Plants grow thus big and indeed close together in the Ituri rain forest that fiddling sunlight makes its way to the forest floor. Okapi are well adapted to their dense, blue surroundings. Their distinctly bombastic ears help them to sense hidden predators. Their dark bodies blend into the shadows and their clean hindquarters break up any outline, making it unmanageable for predators to spot them .
Okapi are active during the day ( in other words, diurnal ). They spend their wake hours foraging for food. They feed on leaves, fruits, grasses and some species of fungi. They besides eat a red clay that provides essential salt and minerals .
Okapi are not sociable animals. They do not seek company, although they may feed together in small groups for a short-circuit period of time. They prefer to live alone in large, secluded areas ( which is becoming increasingly unmanageable for them as their rain forest habitat shrinks ).

“Making my mark”

The okapi is similar in many ways to its towering cousin, the giraffe. Both have cloven hooves and short, skin-covered horns. Both have long necks ( although, yes, the giraffe wins the longest neck contest ). Their skulls are virtually identical except that the okapi ’ south is smaller. Most impressively, both have super retentive, prehensile, flexible, blue tongues that are excellent leaf pluckers .
so here ’ s an strange eminence : the okapi, thanks to its extra long clapper, is one of the alone mammals in the universe that can lick its own ears !

Both male and female okapi travel within home ranges that may overlap. They live alone or in mother-offspring pairs. Okapi mark their territory by spraying urine, secreting a black tar-like message from perfume glands on each foot, and rubbing their necks on trees. Males will defend their territories from other males but will allow females to pass through. To show laterality, one okapi will raise its head above the other. To show submission, an okapi will lay its lead and neck on the land. When male rivals clash, they kick and bash each other with their boastfully heads .
okapi are surely known to each other and to the predators that hunt them, but they remain relatively mysterious to the scientific community. Because they are cloistered animals that live in habitat not easily explored, scientists have not studied them intensively. Okapi were first brought to the populace ’ south attention in 1901 after local people revealed their universe to european explorers in Africa. For many years prior, their universe had been hinted at but never confirmed.

“What eats me”

The leopard is the okapi ’ sulfur most awful marauder. other rain forest cats, including servals and fortunate cats, besides prey on okapi. Humans besides hunt okapi ( today, illegally, as okapi are protected in the DRC ). This is how european explorers first became mindful of okapi ; pygmy hunters described the strange, zebra-like animal that they sometimes trapped in forest pits .

Raising Young

male and female okapi come together concisely to mate, then go their break ways. Females retreat deep into the forest to give birth. A mother okapi normally gives birth to a single young at a time. For the first two months of liveliness, that offspring will remain concealed in a nest of leaf. The beget will return frequently to allow it to nurse. She will wean her offspring at about 6 months of long time. Okapi reach full size at about age 3 .


Okapi are listed by the IUCN, the world ’ south leading conservation organization, as an endangered species. Although it is difficult to get firm judgment data, the remaining population appears to be in steep decline over the last few decades. The species is threatened by habitat loss and by lack of conservation action. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a World Heritage site that covers approximately 20 % of the Ituri Rainforest, is a protect substitute where many okapi populate. however, civil unrest in the DRC and its neighbor countries of Sudan and Uganda has made it virtually impossible to enforce wildlife protection laws in this and early reserves .

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