Next on our tour of true strange things is a unique and little known large animal you may have never seen. It’s no hoax, the endangered okapi resembles a zebra and giraffee cross and is actually the giraffe’s closest living relative. The okapi lives a mostly solitary life in the dense forests of the Congo. It remains on the endangered species list as humans have hunted it to half of its previous population.￼ What do you think about the okapi solution to getting along with a mate?
Okapis are primarily diurnal, but may be active for a few hours in darkness. They are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed. Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. Rut in males and estrus in females does not depend on the season. In captivity, estrous cycles recur every 15 days. The gestational period is around 440 to 450 days long, following which usually a single calf is born. The juveniles are kept in hiding, and nursing takes place infrequently. Juveniles start taking solid food from three months, and weaning takes place at six months.
Okapis inhabit canopy forests at altitudes of 500–1,500 m (1,600–4,900 ft). They are endemic to the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they occur across the central, northern, and eastern regions. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources classifies the okapi as endangered. Major threats include habitat loss due to logging and human settlement. Extensive hunting for bushmeat and skin and illegal mining have also led to a decline in populations. The Okapi Conservation Project was established in 1987 to protect okapi populations.
These interesting beasts may have something to teach us: enjoy time alone in nature. 🦓 🦒 🦓 🦒🦓 🦒🦓 🦒🦓 🦒