Bronx Zoo Debuts Its Baby Okapi
NY June 27, 2009 - From the back, she looks like a zebra; in the middle, she
looks like a donkey; and up front, her face resembles her closest relative -
The okapi calf is called Mbaya. She lives with her
mother, Kweli, in the Robert Wood
Johnson Jr. Okapi Jungle and Ituri Field Camp in the Congo Gorilla
Forest. The okapi are an
integral part of this exhibit celebrating its ten-year anniversary.
Mbaya was born this spring, weighing 65 pounds. She is
the fourth calf born to her mother.
"We are pleased that our okapi
breeding program here at the Bronx Zoo has so been
successful," said Jim
Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo
and Senior Vice President of WCS’s Living Institutions.
“Okapi are incredibly shy creatures. We are pleased to give our
visitors this rare, close-up glimpse of this amazing animal.”
Europeans first encountered the okapi around 1900, and
the species was officially "recognized" in 1902. In 1937, the Bronx
Zoo acquired the first okapi in North America.
In the wild, okapi are located in the Democratic
Republic of Congo in Central Africa where they
live in heavily forested areas. The okapi is also known as the forest giraffe.
In the wild, they are rarely seen by humans, but are
threatened by illegal hunting. The Wildlife Conservation Society helped
establish the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Democratic Republic of Congo in
1992. Within the reserve, WCS established a conservation research and
training center for international and Congolese scientists to bring new methods
and expertise to the discovery of the little-known biodiversity of those wilderness
areas. Last year, WCS discovered okapi in Virunga National Park,
where these elusive animals had not been seen in more than 50 years.
- The okapi's tongue is so long it can reach to clean
its own eyelids and ears.
- It is the only living relative of the giraffe.
WCS in the Field
To learn more about WCS conservation efforts in Africa and around the world, visit www.wcs.org.
The Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m., 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays through November 2, 2009. Adult
admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free,
seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo
is conveniently located off the Bronx
River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5
or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service
that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild
places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation,
education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife
parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change
attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in
harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the
integrity of life on Earth.
Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide
your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support
of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to