The male okapi calf and his mother, Kayin, are doing well following the baby animal’s September 7 birth at the Oklahoma City Zoo
The Oklahoma City Zoo (OKC Zoo) has a new resident: an okapi.
The Oklahoma Zoo reported on Wednesday that Kayin the okapi, a first-time mother, gave birth to a male calf on September 7.
Okapis are a rare and endangered species native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they are known as the “ghost of the jungles.” The giraffe’s only living relative; the zoo announced the okapi’s birth in a press statement.
“We are overjoyed about Kayin’s first calf’s arrival and excited to welcome this new generation to our okapi family,” Tracey Dolphin, the OKC Zoo’s curator of hoofstock and primates, said in a statement. “Kayin is an extremely attentive first-time mother who provides great maternal care. Her new calf is robust and vigorous, and he is reaching milestones such as nursing and bonding with his mother.”
The name of the calf has yet to be revealed by the OKC Zoo. Bosomi is the name of his father, who is also a first-time parent. Kayin and Bosomi’s new kid is the OKC Zoo’s sixth okapi. The facility’s last okapi birth occurred in 2015.
The new parents are part of a group of 88 okapis being cared for by 29 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited members in North America as part of the AZA’s Species Survival Plan® (SSP). Kayin and Bosomi were paired as part of an SSP breeding recommendation, and it paid off.
Kayin and her new calf are spending time together and resting behind the scenes at the OKC Zoo before meeting the public. Because the juvenile animal is in his “nesting phase,” animal lovers won’t be able to meet him for several weeks.
According to the OKC Zoo, newborn okapis spend several weeks curled in foliage, conserving energy by feeding and sleeping largely. The zoo will continue to update its social media outlets with updates on the calf’s progress.
The new okapi is an important addition to the animal’s species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists the okapi as endangered. Okapis are thought to number between 10,000 and 50,000 in the wild. Animals are endangered due to habitat loss caused by logging and human development, poaching, and the presence of illegal armed groups near protected areas.