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Endangered Okapi Calf Born at Ohio Zoo Already Up and Galloping Two Weeks After Birth

"The birth of this calf is very special as this incredible species continues to face many challenges in its native range," the zoo said

© Columbus Zoo/Twitter   "The birth of this calf is very special as this incredible species continues to face many challenges in its native range," the zoo said

By Georgia Slater, People

An Ohio zoo is celebrating the birth of its sixth endangered okapi calf.

On Tuesday, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shared the exciting news that a male okapi calf was born on May 8 at 3:54 a.m. to mother, Damisi, and father, El Jewar.

Along with the announcement, the zoo posted an adorable video of the tiny okapi, who is still unnamed, galloping alongside his mother in a barn.

In the clip, the long-legged animal with zebra-like striped legs stays close to his mother as they groom one another.



According to the zoo's release about the birth, the Congo Expedition Animal Care team had been on birth watch through a mounted camera since April 21 in order to ensure that Damisi would have a smooth delivery.

Following the May 8 birth, the team first noticed a nursing attempt at 6:45 a.m. and confirmed nursing at 8:31 a.m.

As Damisi has experience with nursing — she birthed another male calf Dakarti in 2014 — the team will only check in every couple of weeks so that they do not interrupt the animals' bonding time.

The team will "quietly check" on the okapis, bring them food, and clean the barn during this time.

The unnamed calf and his mother will be kept in a temperature-controlled indoor environment for a couple of months to nest as newborn okapis do not have control of their own body temperatures, the zoo shared.

Damisi, who is 14 years old, and El Jewar, who is 24 years old, arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2007 and 2000 respectively. Their baby is now the sixth okapi calf to be born at the zoo since the first was birthed in 2003, according to the release.

"We are very excited to welcome this adorable okapi calf, as he represents that hope for his species’ future," Audra Meinelt, curator of the Columbus Zoo’s Congo Expedition region, said in the release.

According to the International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, okapis are endangered animals with only an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 left in existence.

“The birth of this calf is very special as this incredible species continues to face many challenges in its native range," Tom Stalf, the zoo's president and CEO said. "The Columbus Zoo remains dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places, and we are proud to be a part of this managed breeding program and other conservation initiatives working to protect okapis."

See more at: People

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Pets Magazine: Endangered Okapi Calf Born at Ohio Zoo Already Up and Galloping Two Weeks After Birth
Endangered Okapi Calf Born at Ohio Zoo Already Up and Galloping Two Weeks After Birth
"The birth of this calf is very special as this incredible species continues to face many challenges in its native range," the zoo said
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