One of the rarest and most beautiful animals at the Houston Zoo is the okapi (“oh-cop-ee”) or forest giraffe. Since it was first discovered by the western world in 1901 it has captivated the imagination like few other species. Unlike its cousin the giraffe, the okapi is only found in the most remote rainforests of central Africa. Their total population is estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 with the major concentration in the Ituri Forest of northwest DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire and the Belgium Congo).
- Scientific Name: Okapia johnstoni
- Range: Northeast Democratic Republic of Congo
- Status in the Wild: Endangered
- Location in the Zoo: West Hoofed Run
- Cool Animal Fact: This animal has an incredibly long tongue – they can actually lick their own eyeballs!
It is almost impossible to observe an okapi in the wild, so seeing these amazing animals at our Zoo is the best way to inspire care and raise support for their protection in Africa.