Friday, November 10, 2006

Picture Friday

It's Daddy Okapi! The zoo recently had an okapi birth and the Dad is out on exhibit while Mom and Baby are in seclusion. There is a live feed showing the baby on a video monitor which is nice. Okapi births are rare in captivity and the zoo keepers found that females liked to leave the baby in a "nesting area" and then wander off quite a good distance away. This behavior (in my most educated guess) is probably to keep the baby safer in the wild as it would stay hidden for hours as the mother foraged.

Before figuring this out, zoos would house the Mom and Baby in a close area and they were having some troubles with the babies thriving. Changing the size of the seclusion enclosure to a large one was first suggested by the zoo I volunteer at. Makes me feel proud even though I had nothing to do with it. I'm just proud of my zoo in general.

Interesting Okapi (a.k.a. The Forest Giraffe) facts

1. They are native to the African country the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire) and until the early 1900's European and American scientists didn't even know they existed as a species so there are still a lot of things to discover about them.

2. The white markings on their lower legs are known as "ankle stockings". Any animal that wears stockings is right by my book!

3. The make a funny bleating sound almost like a goat or a sheep. It's funny because when I first heard one I thought "Why the heck to they have a sheep on exhibit in Africa: The Forest?"


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