Monday, November 9, 2015

Bio File: Okapi

(Author: David Lichliter)

  • Latin Name: Okapia Johnstoni
  • Height: 4-6ft 
  • Weight: 440-770 lbs; 
  • Length: 6-7ft
  • Diet: Herbivorous
  • Region: Central Africa  

The okapi, or okapia johnstoni, is a striking and unique animal. Sporting stripes, it may appear to be related to zebras on first glance; however, this is not the case. In fact, the okapi is related to giraffes and is their only known living relative.
(Copyright Belongs to Wikipedia: Public Domain)
The okapi is around one-and-a-half to two meters in length, and weighs two hundred to three hundred kilograms, on average. Its top speed can reach sixty kilometers an hour.  The okapi’s long neck allows it to reach higher vegetation and can be used to help defend it. The okapi has a long, black tongue to help it reach leaves at higher branches of vegetation. Their legs feature a spot of tough skin just above their ankles, the long legs also have white stripes that extend to its hindquarters, which is used as camouflage in the jungles it resides. The okapi is an herbivore, but it will occasionally eat reddish clay for the salts in minerals it contains. The animal is shy and elusive and is rarely seen in the wild due to this behavior due to its camouflage. Although seldom seen, they are actually quite common in the remote habitats in which they live and are not classified as an endangered species. The okapi are so elusive the animal was not even classified as a species in the west until the twentieth century.
(Copyright: Photograph: Powell-Cotton Museum
The okapi naturally resides in the rainforests of Africa. More specifically, they are found in the Ituri Forest. Due to this location, few predators actually pursue okapi; but their main threats include: leopards, servals, and humans. The most prominent threat; however, is the deforestation of the rainforests in which they live. 
(Copyright: Public Domain Wikipedia)
The okapi is a profound animal to cryptozoology (The study of unknown organisms like Bigfoot, loch ness monster, etc.) Many people in the western world did not believe such a creature could exist, as it sounded too artificial. One man however, believed the natives from Africa and retrieved skulls and skins from okapi until doubt was lifted enough for him to acquire research funds. This man was Sir Harry Johnston. With the funding he received, he was able to capture live animals, which eliminated any doubt of the okapi’s existence. This could relate to other cryptids (the organisms for which evidence is lacking) that truly exist, but have yet to be discovered. After all, many new species are discovered each year, and an extraordinary organism could very well be the next exhibit at a zoo.

(Copyright: Public Domain Wikipedia)
Works Cited:
  1. "The Cryptid Zoo: Okapi." The Cryptid Zoo: Okapi. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  2. "Mammals | Okapi." Okapi. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  3. "Okapi." (a Johnstoni). N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  4. "Okapi." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  5. "Okapia Johnstoni (okapi)." Animal Diversity Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
  6. "Rainforest Alliance." Okapi (Okapia Johnstoni). N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

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