(Okapia johnstoni)

The okapi has eluded science since the early 20th century. Nevertheless, the shy forest dwellers were quickly classified as belonging to the giraffe family. The stripes on the limbs are particular striking since they are reminiscent of the zebra at first sight.


Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo


Young shoots, leaves, buds, grasses, ferns, mushrooms, fruits

Approx. 35,000 to 50,000 in the wild

1.80 m total height, 2.10 m head-body length

180 to 320 kg

Gestation period
Approx. 15 months

Achievable age
15 to 30 years in human care

What to know about okapis
The okapi is an even-toed ungulate that is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal. It is also referred to as the short-necked giraffe or the forest giraffe. The animals still haven't been fully researched up to this day. They are solitary animals, very shy and are able to live perfectly camouflaged in the forest thanks to their stripes.

Lazy youngsters
While okapi babies are already capable of standing just two hours after their birth and plodding along behind their mothers a mere couple of days later, they then seek out a permanent home, where the mother visits and suckles them. They spend the next two months snoozing and prefer to let their mums do all the running around!

Hunger on both sides

Man is the largest threat to the okapi. The animals aren't able to tolerate any interference through the cultivation of the forest by man, flee and lose their food resources and habitat. They are also additionally hunted for their meat.

Is it true, that ...?
The okapi was mistaken for another animal upon their discovery? In fact, the researchers at first thought they were a wild horse or a zebra due to the stature of the animal they had found, and referred to them as 'Equus johnstoni'. It's very own name 'Okapi' and the scientific species name 'Okapia johnstoni' were assigned to it only later on.