AboutZoos, Since 2008


After tragedy in Congo Basin, cap­tive born Okapi brings hope

pub­lished 22 Sep­tem­ber 2012 | mod­i­fied 22 Sep­tem­ber 2012

On 15 Sep­tem­ber a healthy male Okapi calf was born at Antwerp Zoo. World­wide only 48 Okapi have been born in cap­tiv­ity, seven of them at Antwerp Zoo. This calf is named Nkosi, which means God in the Xhosa lan­guage, one of the offi­cial lan­guages of South Africa.

Footage of the new­born Okapi calf:

This new­born Okapi deliv­ered some good news, finally, about Okapi con­ser­va­tion after the bru­tal attack on the Okapi Wildlife Reserve head­quar­ters – the Epulu Breed­ing and Research Sta­tion – in the Congo Basin in June this year. A group of armed ban­dits or poach­ers attacked and killed the entire breed­ing herd of 15 Okapi and at least seven staff mem­bers. Epulu plays a piv­otal role in the future sur­vival of the Okapi and is cen­tral in man­ag­ing stock for global con­ser­va­tion breed­ing pro­grammes of the species.

The Antwerp Zoo over­sees the Inter­na­tional Stud­book for Okapi and coor­di­nates the breed­ing pro­gramme for Okapi in Euro­pean zoos – the Euro­pean Endan­gered Species Pro­gramme — in an effort to main­tain genetic diver­sity in the cap­tive pop­u­la­tion. Zoo breed­ing pro­grammes are more impor­tant than ever since only around 35,000 Okapi can be found in the wild still. Okapi are found only in the Demo­c­ra­tic Repub­lic of Congo, where the afore­men­tioned raid on the Okapi Wildlife Reserve by poach­ers took place.

Other threats to the Okapi’s uncer­tain future are habi­tat destruc­tion and frag­men­ta­tion by clear­ing of rain for­est for agri­cul­ture and trop­i­cal hard­woods, min­ing, and the polit­i­cal and socio-​economic unrest in the region.

OkapiOkapi are related to giraffes, with their long tongues and long necks to prove it. The bold stripes are unique to each Okapi, much like a person’s fin­ger­prints. These stripes pro­vide ideal cam­ou­flage in their native jun­gle habitat.

(Source: Antwerp Zoo News, 20.09.2012; ZooBorns, 22.09.2012)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
Fol­low me on: