Staff at Marwell Zoo have been celebrating the rare and safe arrival of an endangered okapi calf born at the zoo.
Keepers have named the female calf Niari, which means ‘rare’ and is an area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where okapis originate from.
Staff said first-time mum, Daphne, and Niari are both doing well and are currently being kept behind closed doors out of the public eye, to ensure they bond and the calf settles during the nesting period.
Marwell Zoo animal keeper, Phil Robbins, said:
“We know guests are desperate to see the pair, but we want to make sure Daphne and Niari enjoy some peace and quiet, as this is essential in the first few weeks of the nesting period.
“Okapis are very shy animals.
"As such, we prefer to keep okapi dams and calves in an isolated environment to reduce noise and stress levels.”
The adorable okapi calf we welcomed last month is a girl! The female calf has been named Niari, which means ‘rare’ and is also an area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.🌍— Marwell Wildlife (@Marwellwildlife) May 2, 2019
We'll let you know when the okapi house is back open, in the meantime, thanks for your patience. 😍 pic.twitter.com/ZRbj5N4KUb
Okapis are eye-catching animals and relatives of the giraffe.
They have thick, reddish brown-black coats and like giraffes, have the same body shape with long necks, long black tongues and males have horn-like ossicones on their head.
Their hindquarters and front legs are black-and-white striped, reminiscent of a zebra’s.
Okapis give birth to a single calf after a 14-month gestation period, and an okapi calf can be on its feet and suckling within half an hour of being born.