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Okapi

Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) -an extremely rare mammal of the family Giraffidae, endemic only to the forests of Ituri, to the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Okapi attains a length of 1.9 to 2.5 m and height of 1.5 to 2.0 m at the withers. The tail has a length of between 30 and 42 cm. Their weight is within the range of 200 to 270 kg. Males are larger than females. To a large extent they lead daytime and generally reclusive lifestyle, joining in pairs only during the mating season. The female gives birth to only one calf after a gestation of 14-15 months.

Okapi feed on tree leaves and buds, grass, polystichums, fruits, and mushrooms. Many of the plant species on which the okapi feed are poisonous to humans.

Although it resembles a zebra, thanks to its white stripes, it is genetically a close cousin of giraffes.

This species was discovered rather late, in 1901. It was called the “unicorn” among mammals because of the small area it inhabits and therefore a small number. They are also skittish and hard to track down.

This species has been under protection since 1932!

Three individuals of this species currently live in Wrocław ZOO - a female, Hazina, and two males, Maiko and Nkozi.

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