OKC ZOO ANNOUNCES ENDANGERED OKAPI IS PREGNANT, DUE THIS FALL
May 18, 2022
This fall, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will welcome a new addition to its okapi (pronounced oh-COP-ee) family when adult female okapi, Kayin, gives birth to her first calf. Kayin, 6, is pregnant and due this fall. This will be the first offspring for the OKC Zoo’s okapi pair, Kayin and Bosomi, 4. The last okapi born at the OKC Zoo was Kayin in 2015 and now, life is coming full circle with the awaited arrival of her calf.
“We are extremely excited about Kayin’s pregnancy and cannot wait to see her caring for her own calf,” said Tracey Dolphin, OKC Zoo’s curator of hoofstock and primates. “An okapi birth is a significant event not only for our animal family but for the okapi population as a whole. By participating in a successful breeding program with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’ Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for okapi, the Zoo is contributing to the conservation of this endangered species.”
Kayin was born at the OKC Zoo in 2015. The calf’s father, Bosomi, arrived at the Zoo on a recommendation with the AZA’s SSP for okapi from Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas, in 2020.
The Zoo’s veterinary team confirmed Kayin’s pregnancy through ultrasounds and following an approximate 15-month gestation period she is expected to give birth this fall. Kayin is in good health and her daily routine including diet, training and spending time with Bosomi will remain consistent throughout her pregnancy. She is receiving excellent care and attention from her caretakers who are working closely with the Zoo’s veterinary team to monitor both mom and calf through ongoing exams and ultrasounds. Through positive reinforcement training and the strong relationship Kayin has with her caretakers, she voluntarily participates in these exams making it is a stress-free and comfortable experience for her.
Native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa, okapis are a reclusive species often referred to as the “ghosts of the forests”. These unique animals have distinguishing physical features including a velvet-like brown coat, striped legs and hind quarters and enlarged ears. Plus, the okapi is the only living relative of the giraffe. Classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, okapi populations in the wild – estimated between 10,000 and 50,000 – are currently decreasing primarily because of habitat loss resulting from logging and human settlement. The presence of illegal armed groups around protected areas and poaching are also major threats.
Wildlife fans can help conserve okapi by donating their used electronic devices at the OKC Zoo. Small electronics frequently contain coltan and mining for this substance threatens the habitats of okapi and other endangered species. When individuals donate used phones or other electronics, the coltan from those devices is re-used and reduces the need to mine for the compound in okapi habitats. Additionally, guests can also choose to Round Up for Conservation, when purchasing items from gift shops or restaurants, located throughout the Zoo. Funds from Round Up for Conservation has been donated to the Okapi Conservation Project to help support the organization’s conservation efforts in Africa.
When visiting the Zoo, be sure to see Kayin and Bosomi at their habitat located across from Predator Pass. The Zoo will share updates on Kayin’s pregnancy on its social platforms.
Connect to wildlife and tons of fun as you experience the all new BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise at the OKC Zoo. Sponsored by Devon, BRICKLIVE features 45+ life-sized animal statues made with almost two million toy bricks! BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise will be at the Zoo now through October 30, 2022 and open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To learn more or purchase your BRICKLIVE tickets in advance visit www.okczoo.org/bricklive.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a member. Memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org or any place admission is sold in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza during regular business hours. To learn more about this event and Zoo other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.