They are diurnal (active during the day). [14], In 1902, Swiss zoologist Charles Immanuel Forsyth Major suggested the inclusion of O. johnstoni in the extinct giraffid subfamily Palaeotraginae. The large number of rod cells in the retina facilitate night vision, and an efficient olfactory system is present. Like giraffes, okapis have skin-covered horns called ossicones. These rare mammals, which resemble giraffes, feed on leaves, grasses, shoots, fruits, and ferns. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to population declines. It is believed that there are currently about 25,000 okapis in the wild. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve forms one fifth of the Ituri forest. The Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is a mammal located in the Ituri Rainforest in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. In captivity, estrous cycles recur every 15 days. Morphological similarities shared between the giraffe and the okapi include a similar gait – both use a pacing gait, stepping simultaneously with the front and the hind leg on the same side of the body, unlike other ungulates that walk by moving alternate legs on either side of the body[29] – and a long, black tongue (longer in the okapi) useful in plucking buds and leaves, as well as for grooming. They mainly live alone and are never found in herds. Okapis live in the clearings and forest areas of the rainforest that are not dense with foliage. The okapi feeds during the day on leaves, soft twigs, shoots, fruits, and plants. The large auditory bullae allow a strong sense of hearing. 8. It is similar in shape to a horse, but has a longer neck. The okapi is classified Endangered by the IUCN. Many zoos in North America and Europe currently have okapis in captivity. The Okapi is an elusive herbivore that is found in a small pocket of tropical mountain forest in central Africa. Along with having a relatively long neck compared to its body size, the most striking feature of the Okapi is the horizontal stripes that are particularly visible on their behinds and give this … Click on the photo below to discover this week’s animal! This is followed by mounting and copulation. The okapis dark purpli… Wild okapis exist only in the central, northern, and eastern … The dense tropical forest is the main habitat of the animal. Much confusion arose regarding the taxonomical status of this newly discovered animal. Only male okapis have horns. However, British American explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley had made the first report of the animal as early as 1890. [7][10] Remains of a carcass were later sent to London by Johnston and became a media event in 1901. [18] Several important primitive giraffids existed more or less contemporaneously in the Miocene (23–10 million years ago), including Canthumeryx, Giraffokeryx, Palaeotragus, and Samotherium. The okapis black and white striped hind quarters provide camouflage in the filtered light of its rainforest habitat. [11], In 1901, Sclater presented a painting of the okapi before the Zoological Society of London that depicted its physical features with some clarity. Made for a rain forest: The okapi's home is in the tropical rain forest in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). The coat of the okapi is sleek and deep brown, … They are rare animals who spend much of their lives hiding. The scientific name for an okapi is ‘Okapia johnstoni’. Wild Okapis Only Live in One Country. Wild okapi live exclusively in the Ituri Rainforest in northwest Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. Okapis: The okapi ( Okapia johnstoni ) is also known as the forest giraffe or sometime the ghost of the jungle. It is also common in the Wamba and Epulu areas. [1], The okapi inhabits canopy forests at altitudes of 500–1,500 m (1,600–4,900 ft). [43], The San Diego Zoo has exhibited okapis since 1956, and had their first birth of an okapi in 1962. Do okapis live in many places of the world? [25] Male okapis have short, hair-covered horns called ossicones, less than 15 cm (5.9 in) in length. Male okapis have short, distinct horn-like protuberances on their heads called ossicones (which share similar features to the giraffe ossicones in terms of formation, structure and function),[2] less than 15 cm (5.9 in) in length. [38], The Okapi Conservation Project, established in 1987, works towards the conservation of the okapi, as well as the growth of the indigenous Mbuti people. If a predator is looking for prey that is typically mammal-shaped, then it might not notice an okapi hiding in the undergrowth. The okapi's typical lifespan is 20–30 years. In captivity, estrous cycles recur every 15 days. They have also been known to live in swamps, savannas, and woodlands. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. [25] Teeth are low-crowned and finely cusped, and efficiently cut tender foliage. Strictly herbivores, okapis’ diets consist of leaves, buds, twigs, fruits and other understory vegetation. Okapis live solitary lives, and only get together to mate. Explorers may have seen the fleeting view of the striped backside as the animal fled through the bushes, leading to speculation that the okapi was some sort of rainforest zebra. Newborn calves do not defecate until … They don’t make many noises They have scent glands on the bottoms of their feet and a good sense of smell, so they can tell if other okapis are in the area. Males visit female home ranges at breeding time. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Maiko National Park support significant populations of the okapi, though a steady decline in numbers has occurred due to several threats. As the vocal cords are poorly developed, vocal communication is mainly restricted to three sounds — "chuff" (contact calls used by both sexes), "moan" (by females during courtship) and "bleat" (by infants under stress). [30] They are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. Okapis are hunted for their meat and skins, and like many endangered animals, are also threatened by deforestation. It occasionally uses seasonally inundated areas, but does not occur in gallery forests, swamp forests, and habitats disturbed by human settlements. Learn about other African animals at our African Animals page. The Ituri Forest, in northeastern DRC, is home to a large part of the world’s okapi population. [41], The Bronx Zoo was the first zoo in North America to exhibit okapi, in 1937. Native just to the Ituri rainforests, it was known only to the local people until 1901. “How I live there” Okapi are solitary animals that live in habitat not easily penetrated. The okapi’s long neck allows it to reach foliage in trees and tall bushes. The tail comprises 30 to 42cm (11.8-16.5in) of this length. These animals are found in the African rainforest where trees are dense. Okapis are herbivores (plant eaters). The video below shows an okapi in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. It was once found in the country of Uganda, but it is believed to be extinct there. According to palaeontologist and author Kathleen Hunt, Samotherium split into Okapia (18 million years ago) and Giraffa (12 million years ago). [14][21], In 2016, a genetic study found that the common ancestor of giraffe and okapi lived about 11.5 million years ago. ActiveWild.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon stores. It is thought that there are around 25,000 okapis living in the wild. Staple foods comprise shrubs and lianas. Grooming is a common practice, focused at the earlobes and the neck. Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. Males migrate continuously, while females are sedentary. Rut in males and estrous in females does not depend on the season. In addition, when okapis interact in … This allowed scientists to identify the okapi as a new species. Although generally similar to adults, newborn calves have false eyelashes, a long dorsal mane, and long white hairs in the stripes. [34] The growth rate of calves is appreciably high in the first few months of birth, after which it gradually declines. Both are in the Giraffidae … This may seem like a large number, but considering that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a big country, you’d be very unlikely to see one if you went there! The main area of okapi is concentrated in the Congo, but the species is also present in some natural reserves of West and East Africa. The striking stripes make it resemble a zebra. The Okapi is an elusive animal that inhabits the rainforests of central Africa. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae. It is used to pull food down to the animal’s mouth. The okapi stands about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall at the shoulder and has a typical body length around 2.5 m (8.2 ft). Distribution of the Okapi Wild okapi are found exclusively in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Females possess hair whorls, and ossicones are absent. [13] Subsequently, zoologist Ray Lankester declared that the okapi represented an unknown genus of the Giraffidae, which he placed in its own genus, Okapia, and assigned the name Okapia johnstoni to the species. The okapi is found exclusively in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe; Female okapis are actually larger than male okapis. The okapi is native to the Ituri Rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo—the only place where it can be found in the wild—and has thick, oily fur to stay dry in the rain. Gazetted areas such as the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Maiko National Park support huge populations. 1. Diet. The okapi exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females 4.2 cm (1.7 in) taller on average, slightly redder, and lacking prominent ossicones, instead possessing hair whorls. Okapis live in the tropical rainforests in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Click here for info: Subscribe to Active Wild. Why does the okapi have zebra-like stripes? All Rights Reserved. [42] They have had one of the most successful breeding programs, with 13 calves having been born since 1991. Although the okapi was unknown to the Western world until the 20th century, it may have been depicted since the early fifth century BCE on the façade of the Apadana at Persepolis, a gift from the Ethiopian procession to the Achaemenid kingdom. [1] In June 2012, a gang of poachers attacked the headquarters of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, killing six guards and other staff[37] as well as all 14 okapis at their breeding center. Okapi is often called a forest giraffe, which indicates its propensity to dwell in a wooded area. Currently, wild okapis can only be found within the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they live in the dense forests of the northern and central recesses. 3 4 5. It is the most closely related to the giraffe, but resembles a zebra.Because it’s very cautious, and, thus, difficult to capture, it has been called the African unicorn for many years. Okapis live in areas of tropical rainforest. Found in the rainforests of the Congo region, the okapi was unknown to science until 1901, when British explorer Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston sent the first bits of hide to the British Museum. Not discovered until the 20th century, the okapi's closest relative is actually the giraffe. Okapis are herbivores, and do not eat meat. The Ituri Forest, in northeastern DRC, is home to a large part of the world’s okapi population. [12] Based on the description of the okapi by Pygmies, who referred to it as a "horse", Sclater named the species Equus johnstoni. The okapi’s closest living relative is the giraffe. Okapi are the only living relative of the giraffe. [6], Though Johnston did not see an okapi himself, he did manage to obtain pieces of striped skin and eventually a skull. Okapis are mainly found in central Africa. Other areas of occurrence are the Rubi Tele Hunting Reserve and the Abumombanzi Reserve. [25], The okapi is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it occurs north and east of the Congo River. The second part of the okapi’s scientific name comes from Sir Harry H. Johnston, a British explorer and botanist. Copy. The name ‘okapi’ comes from the native word for the animal, ‘o’api’. He confirmed the existence of the okapi and acquired okapi skull and skin specimens. Their range runs both north and east of the Congo River, and they can be found mostly in central, northern, and eastern DRC. The zoo has had 28 okapi births since 1959. Despite their ability to walk, mothers hide newborns in dense vegetation and return frequently to allow the calves to nurse. The two genera together with Palaeotragus constitute the tribe Giraffini. Okapi's dwell straight in the heart of Africa in the dense rainforests. The secretive nature of okapis and the difficulty most humans have of traveling in their habitat have made okapis hard to observe in the wild. The okapi population is managed in America by the AZA's Species Survival Plan, a breeding program that works to ensure genetic diversity in the captive population of endangered animals, while the EEP (European studbook) and ISB (Global studbook) are managed by Antwerp Zoo,[40] which was the first zoo to have an Okapi on display (in 1919), as well as one of the most successful in breeding them. They have overlapping home ranges and typically occur at densities around 0.6 animals per square kilometre. From head to tail the okapi measures 1.9 to 2.5m (6.2 to 8.2ft). They prefer altitudes at 500 to 1,000 m in the montane rainforests. Easily recognisable by its zebra-like markings, the okapi is actually more closely related to the giraffe. The okapi’s long, black tongue is prehensile (able to grip). The okapi , also known as the forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebra giraffe, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. From this skull, the okapi was correctly classified as a relative of the giraffe; in 1901, the species was formally recognized as Okapia johnstoni. Okapis inhabit canopy forests at altitudes of 500–1,500 m (1,600–4,900 ft). [23] It has a long neck, and large and flexible ears. Despite its Deer-like appearance the Okapi is actually one of the last remaining ancestors of the Giraffe, which is the tallest animal on Earth. Horn development in males takes 1 year after birth. Her milk is very rich in proteins and low in fat. PRESENTATION OUTLINE. Both are in the Giraffidae family, with girafffes in the Giraffa genus and okapi in the Okapia genus. The juveniles are kept in hiding, and nursing takes place infrequently. Another radiation began in the Pliocene, but was terminated by a decline in diversity in the Pleistocene. Where do Okapis Live? It ranges from the Maiko National Park northward to the Ituri rainforest, then through the river basins of the Rubi, Lake Tele, and Ebola to the west and the Ubangi River further north. Okapis have finely tuned senses, so if you’re looking for an okapi, it probably already knows you’re coming! A majority of the Okapi population is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although the okapi has striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. Juveniles start taking solid food from three months, and weaning takes place at six months. Okapis avoid areas populated by humans. Okapi newborns stand within the first 30 minutes after birth, and will nurse within the first hour. [48][49], In Asia, only two zoos in Japan exhibit okapis; Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and Zoorasia in Yokohama. Basic Facts about the Okapi When scientists first saw native hunters wearing okapi skins, they thought that they were from a new species of zebra. The tongue is also used to groom their ears and eyes. Similar to Giraffes, Okapis use their long tongue to clean their ears. (This means that they are endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.). Okapis are shy, and the stripes on their body help them hide in the rain forests of central Africa, which is the only place in the world where they are found. [17], The earliest members of the Giraffidae first appeared in the early Miocene in Africa, having diverged from the superficially deer-like climacoceratids. In captivity, Okapis exhibit social grooming of necks and ear-lobes, due to the enclosed captive environment. Be sure to watch the video to see this incredible animal in its natural environment. Females become sexually mature at about age 2, whereas males reach this stage at age 3. They are unique in the Ituri Forest as they are the only known mammal that feeds solely on understory vegetation, where they use their 18-inch tongues to selectively browse for suitable plants. These features gradually disappear and give way to the general appearance within a year. They are endemic to the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they occur across the central, northern, and eastern regions. Active Wild Pinterest Active Wild Facebook. [44], The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has also greatly contributed to the captive population of okapis in accredited zoos. No Description. The Okapi was not discovered by the Western world until the end of 19th century. It has a long neck, and large, flexible ears. The okapi is … What are okapi related to? The Pygmies fed Johnston's curiosity about the animal mentioned in Stanley's book. Therefore, researchers can only estimate how many okapis live there. Okapi is a very unusual animal. Interdigital glands are present on all four feet, and are slightly larger on the front feet. Like their giraffe cousins, okapis are ruminants—animals with four chambered stomachs that allow the digestion of very tough plant matter. The okapi has large palatine sinuses, unique among the giraffids. Okapis typically live as solitary animals, but have been known to feed in small groups on certain occasions. [39], Around 100 okapis are in accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos. The Giraffe is the only living relative of Okapis although they resemble the body structure and coat of a Zebra. The dental formula of the okapi is 0.0.3.33.1.3.3. [36] It is fully protected under Congolese law. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a large country – the second largest in Africa – and is located in the centre of the continent. 2. Click the picture above for more details & to view free sample pages! [31], In 2008, it was recorded in Virunga National Park. It stands around 1.5m (5 feet) tall at the shoulders and its body is around 2.5m (8 feet) in length. Okapis typically live as solitary animals, but have been known to feed in small groups on certain occasions. Okapis are solitary and stay far away from predators as much as possible. MORE DECKS TO EXPLORE. It's a zebra, it's a horse ... no, it's an okapi. The dense tropical forest is the main habitat of the animal. Most okapis live in the northern regions of the country. Results of research conducted in the late 1980s in a mixed Cynometra forest indicated that the okapi population density averaged 0.53 animals per square kilometre. The Okapi Conservation Project was set up to protect the okapi. The leopard is the main natural predator of the okapi. Download. [32] They prefer to feed in treefall gaps. [28], As in other ruminants, the infant can stand within 30 minutes of birth. Some females have knobbly bumps in their place. The okapi’s biggest threat is from humans spreading out into their habitat. Its coat is a chocolate to reddish brown, much in contrast with the white horizontal stripes and rings on the legs, and white ankles. The okapi dwell at an altitude of 500-1000 meters, while in the eastern zone they rise even higher – in mountain rainforests. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Clouded Leopard Facts For Kids & Students: Pictures, Information & Video, Animals That Start With L: List With Pictures & Facts, Desert Animals: A List Of Animals That Live In The Desert With Pictures & Facts – Plus FREE question sheet, Nine-Banded Armadillo Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information, Bighorn Sheep Facts: Discover The Largest Sheep Native To North America, American Alligator Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information. [16] In 1986, Okapia was finally established as a sister genus of Giraffa on the basis of cladistic analysis. It is much smaller and shares more external similarities with the deer and bovids than with the giraffe. Its average body length is about 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) and its weight ranges from 200 to 350 kg (440 to 770 lb). 2614. Some okapis have ossicones. Asked by Wiki User. Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) – the African unicornOkapi – a mysterious animal living in the Ituri tropical rainforests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OKAPIS . The aim was to discuss the management of captive okapis and arrange support for okapi conservation. [24] These features serve as an effective camouflage amidst dense vegetation. They are native to the Democratic Republic of Congo and are typically found within the Ituri Forest, according to the Rainforest Alliance. Okapi are the only living relative of the giraffe. News and facts about animals, natural history and science. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to a decline in populations. However, in a rainforest environment, the okapi’s stripes allow it to blend in with the rays of light that filter through the trees. Johnston was puzzled by the okapi tracks the natives showed him; while he had expected to be on the trail of some sort of forest-dwelling horse, the tracks were of a cloven-hoofed beast. It’s absolutely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and we’ll never share information with anyone else. [45], Other North American Zoos that exhibit and breed okapis include the Denver Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado); Houston Zoo, Dallas Zoo and San Antonio Zoo (Texas); Disney's Animal Kingdom, Miami Zoo and Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (Florida); Los Angeles Zoo (California); Saint Louis Zoo (Missouri); Cincinnati Zoo and Columbus Zoo (Ohio); Memphis Zoo (Tennessee); Maryland Zoo (Maryland) and The Sedgwick County Zoo and Tanganyika Wildlife Park (Kansas); Roosevelt Park Zoo[46] (South Dakota), Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (Nebraska); Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia). The face, throat, and chest are greyish white. Okapis are mainly found in central Africa. An okapi’s tongue is long enough to reach its eyes and ears. They are reclusive animals, and prefer areas of thick forest. They live up to 25 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity. Photo by e7onions23. It has a brown coat with black and white stripes on its legs. They prefer dense forests located at an altitude of 500 m to 1500 m (1,600-4,900 ft). (It’s completely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and we’ll never share your details.). Specifically, they live in the Ituri, Aruwimi, and Nepoko basins. They are most commonly found in theWamba and Epuluareas. The okapi’s contrasting colours break up its shape. The okapis tongue is 18 inches long, and can reach both it eyes and ears. Okapis are closely related to giraffes. Females are generally slightly larger than males. Wiki User Answered . The male shows his interest by extending his neck, tossing his head, and protruding one leg forward. Okapis: Okapis are herbivorous mammals that live in the jungles of Central Africa. The okapi’s long tongue is prehensile, and is used for reaching up for food and removing leaves from branches. It is extinct in Uganda. The main constituents of the diet are woody, dicotyledonous species; monocotyledonous plants are not eaten regularly. It is said to be the most biologically diverse country in Africa. If you do manage to see one, the first thing you’ll notice about an okapi are the striking colours of its coat. [25][31], Female okapis become sexually mature at about one-and-a-half years old, while males reach maturity after two years. Okapis . A small population occurs north of the Virunga National Park, but lacks protection due to the presence of armed groups in the vicinity. The stripes may also help a young okapi follow its mother through the dark forest, and they may help adults find each other, too. Working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and nature This article contains Okapi facts and is part of our African Animals series. Where do okapi live ? [31] Males often mark territories and bushes with their urine, while females use common defecation sites. [25], The male is protective of his territory, but allows females to pass through the domain to forage. Okapis are only found in one country: the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Let’s find out more about this rarely seen creature. The okapi’s long neck enables it to reach food in tall trees and bushes. The Maryland Zoo has one male okapi on exhibit in the African Journey near the giraffes. Fecal analysis shows that none of those 100 species dominates the diet of the okapi. Okapis are primarily diurnal, but may be active for a few hours in darkness. June 8, 2017 June 7, 2017 admintag The main area of okapi is concentrated in the Congo, but the species is also present in some natural reserves of West and East Africa. Okapis are only found in one country: the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are small groups of animals west and south of the Congo, but they are highly fragmented from the rest of the population. [28][33] The male and the female begin courtship by circling, smelling, and licking each other. A threat that has emerged quite recently is the presence of illegal armed groups around protected areas, inhibiting conservation and monitoring actions. The gestational period is around 440 to 450 days long, following which usually a single calf is born.

where do okapis live

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