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Chester Zoo Welcome “Incredibly special” Okapi

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 26, 2022 1:36 am

Okapi Calf Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo welcomed the birth of an okapi on December 12th 2021. Named Kora she has recently explored outside for the first time.

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

A rare okapi at Chester Zoo has welcomed an infant born on December 11th 2022. Since her birth the calf has been snuggled up safe in a nest. Recently the shy youngster began to take her first tentative steps in to the wider world.

Conservationists at the United Kingdom attraction have chosen the name "Kora" for the calf after a a small village inside the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, located in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is the only place in the world where wild okapis can be found. They are the national animal of the DRC and enjoy protection under law.

The okapi is the lesser known cousin of the giraffe, their only living relative.

Okapi were only described for western science in 1901 giving rise to their nickname, the African unicorn.

Okapi Calf Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo welcomed the birth of an okapi on December 12th 2021. Named Kora she has recently explored outside for the first time.

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Rosie Owen, Zookeeper at Chester Zoo, said:


“Kora is an incredibly special calf and, for the first two months of life, she’s been snuggled up quietly bonding with mum – all the while building up the courage to step outside for the very first time.


Okapi calves use the stripy markings on the hind legs of their parents to follow them through deep forest habitat, and that’s exactly where you’ll see Kora – sticking closely to her mum’s side until she finds her feet. The pair have bonded brilliantly and are inseparable.


“This is the first calf to be born to mum Ada as part of an endangered species breeding programme and she’s doing a wonderful job of caring for her new baby. She regularly feeds her, cleans her and even gives her gentle nudges of encouragement, it’s a real joy to watch.”

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With just 10,000 left in the wild the okapi is classed as endangered by the The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, hunting and habitat loss which has seen over 50% of the population lost in 25 years.

Mike Jordan, Animal and Plant Director at the zoo, added:


“With only 14 okapis in zoos across the UK, and five of those being here at Chester, the arrival of Kora is a huge cause for celebration for this magnificent species. The okapi is one of the animal kingdom’s most mysterious creatures, and it has sadly undergone a huge decline over the last few decades, with numbers of reported sightings becoming less common. Its last remaining stronghold in the eastern DRC is an area of regular conflict and civil unrest – making conservation projects in the field extremely challenging.


“There’s now an increasing amount of pressure on modern zoos, like ours, to help boost numbers in conservation breeding programmes and care for a safety-net population to ensure its continued survival.”

Learn more about Okapi here – Okapi Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Chester Zoo on their website – Chester Zoo

Okapi Calf Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo welcomed the birth of an okapi on December 12th 2021. Named Kora she has recently explored outside for the first time.

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

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