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Okapi Born at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

World Okapi Day was on October 18th and Walt Disney World celebrated by rejoicing in the birth of a rare okapi on October 1st, 2018.  The calf and mom reside at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge on property.  The new calf weighed in 54 pounds and was born to mom, Zelda.  The pair have been bonding well and are currently in a backstage area at the resort for the next few months before they officially join the rest of the animals at the resort’s savanna.

Here is a look at the new baby:

Baby Okapi at Disney's Animal Kingdom park Baby Okapi at Disney's Animal Kingdom park

The calf’s parents are, Zelda (mom) and Mandazi (dad) were chosen as part of the  Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  This program works to ensure responsible breeding for threatened and endangered species.

Kim Thomson, keeper at Walt Disney World, shared this about the care for a new calf, “We will spend a lot of time conducting observations on mom and calf making sure the calf is bonding well with mom, nursing well and basically hitting all of the milestones we would expect of a growing okapi.”

Okapis are unfortunately an endangered species which is found in rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are known as the ghosts of the forest and are very shy, reclusive and rarely encountered in the wild.  They weren’t even discovered until 1901. There are only an estimated 20,000 okapi in the world, and the population is declining due to poaching and loss of natural habitats.

Here is more information on okapi:

Okapi infographic

How cute is this new calf?

Photo and Source Credit:  Disney Parks Blog

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About Christy Caby

I am a diehard Disney fanatic! I fell in love with all things Disney from an early age and that only increased once I first visited Walt Disney World! It led me to complete a yearlong Disney College Program working at merchandise locations within Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios at that time) and I worked for Disney Parks & Resorts Technology in Project/Program Management. Now I get to write about Disney and help others plan their magical vacations! Disney holds a special place in the hearts of my entire family as my husband proposed there, we honeymooned there, took trips while pregnant with each of my boys and have visited with them many, many times from 8 weeks old through now. One of my favorite memories from each trip is always the look on my kids’ faces the first time they see the castle. I’d love to help you plan your magical vacation! Request a free quote at http://magicalvacationplanner.com/staff/christy-caby/ or look for me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/christy.caby. Have a magical day!