The okapi, also known as the forest giraffe, is a unique and rare animal that is only found in the dense rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Due to habitat loss, poaching, and political instability in the region, the okapi population has been declining rapidly in recent years. According to the latest estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are between 10,000 to 20,000 okapis left in the wild, and their numbers continue to decline.
The table below summarizes the estimated okapi population by year based on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species:
|Year||Estimated Okapi Population|
As you can see from the table, the estimated okapi population has remained relatively stable over the past two decades, but it is still considered endangered. Efforts are being made by conservation organizations and the DRC government to protect the okapi’s habitat and reduce poaching, but more work needs to be done to ensure the long-term survival of this unique and beautiful animal.
What Areas of the World Can You Find Okapi?
Okapis can be found mainly on the continent of Africa, more specifically in the following regions: Democratic Republic of Congo.
In general, the Okapi can be typically found in climates that have a minimum temperature of 46 Fahrenheit and a maximum temperature of 104 Fahrenheit.
How Big Are Okapis?
Okapi males are typically 4.6 feet tall. A fully grown male Okapi is approximately 484 pounds.
Females tend to be 4.8 feet tall. A fully grown female Okapi is approximately 594 pounds.
Population Status, Diet, & Attitude Towards Humans
The Okapi population according to its IUCN status is considered Endangered. Their population in the wild is 22500. They are usually Shy towards humans and therefore will likely stay away and avoid interaction.
The diet of the Okapi is considered Herbivore which means they eat both plant and vegetation as well as meat.
How Long Do Okapi Live & How Many Offspring?
The life expectancy of a male Okapi is typically 26 years. They are considered fully mature by the age of 2 years old. Females can generally be fertile for about 24 years after reaching the age of maturity.
Female Okapi have 1-1 children at a time during pregnancy . The pregnancy lasts approximately 16 months. After birth, there is approximately a period of 24 months before they can become pregnant again.
The mating behaviors of the Okapi are Promiscuous which means A mating behavior where individuals mate with multiple partners without forming lasting bonds.
When was the Okapi discovered?
The Okapi was first discovered in 1901 by Sir Harry Johnston, a British explorer and colonial administrator, during an expedition to the Ituri Forest in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Johnston had heard stories from local villagers about a strange animal that resembled a giraffe but had stripes like a zebra. Intrigued by the reports, he set out to find the creature and eventually succeeded in capturing a live okapi and sending it to a zoo in London.
The Okapi’s discovery was significant because it was the first new giraffe species to be identified in over 100 years. Its unique appearance and elusive nature had previously kept it hidden from the outside world. Since then, the okapi has become a symbol of conservation and the importance of protecting the world’s remaining rainforests.
Despite being relatively well-known today, the Okapi remains one of the most mysterious and enigmatic animals on the planet.