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201224Dec11:47

49th Okapi born in Antwerp Zoo

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 24 Decem­ber 2012 | mod­i­fied 24 Decem­ber 2012
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Okapi calf NgwaniAlthough due on christ­mas, already on Decem­ber 16 a female okapi in Antwerp Zoo deliv­ered a healthy male calf. A night watch­man saw some unex­pected move­ment in the mid­dle of the night and noti­fied a zookeeper. From his com­puter at home the zookeeper could observe the okapi enclo­sure via a web­cam, and imme­di­ately saw that birth already took place with mother and son in good con­di­tion.

This is the 49th okapi calf, Ngwani (mean­ing “child”), born in cap­tiv­ity in Antwerp Zoo. It is a great achieve­ment and another con­tri­bu­tion to keep a high num­ber of healthy and genet­i­cally diverse ani­mals liv­ing and breed­ing in zoos. To date the okapi in the wild is con­sid­ered Near Threat­ened accord­ing the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species.



About 10,000 to 35,000 okapis live in the rain­for­est of the Demo­c­ra­tic Repub­lic of Congo, the sin­gle place in the world where they still exist in the wild. Con­ser­va­tion efforts, such as the Okapi Con­ser­va­tion Project, have been started to ensure their con­tin­ued exis­tence in the wild, while the breed­ing pro­gramme ensures they will exist in zoos as well. Hope­fully, it won’t be nec­es­sary to start rein­tro­duc­ing them to the wild, but if it is every­thing has been set up to do so — and alle­vi­ate the pres­sure on the okapi pop­u­la­tion in the wild.
Antwerp Zoo coor­di­nates the global Inter­na­tional Stud­book (ISB), as well as the Euro­pean Endan­gered Species breed­ing Pro­gramme (EEP) of okapi.

(Source: Antwerp Zoo news, 20.12.2012; Okapi Con­ser­va­tion Project)
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