Seven months after okapi Lindi, okapi Zaire gave birth to a new okapi on 7 October in the Moorish temple of Antwerp ZOO. The caretakers watched and saw the animal being born live. It is her first young and everything went well. It is also his first offspring for sire Ubundu. Antwerp ZOO is the worldwide okapi expert and matchmaker for new flocks in zoos and monitors the welfare and survival of these special, endangered animals. This birth is again fantastic news!
After a gestation period of 14 months, okapi Zaire gave birth in the late evening of October 7. In the run-up to the birth, the caregivers took turns monitoring the webcam in the delivery room. The entire team was able to experience the birth live from home at 10.15 pm. “Mama Zaire licked the calf completely dry. After 2 hours it stood up and we saw it drinking,” says caregiver Nicky.
Caregiver Carina was the first to see it in person the next morning. “It is a nice one with a height of 72 cm at the withers. Its weight of 17.5 kg is completely in proportion to its size. It is a beautiful animal with large floppy ears and the typical okapi striped poo. It’s a male and mommy Zaire takes good care of it.”
Like all other animals born this year at Antwerp ZOO, the little one was given a name starting with an X. The keepers chose the name Xambo. His skin is oily to repel water, just like a raincoat, because it rains a lot in the Ituri Forest in Congo. The hairs are short and lie nicely over each other. Its large ears give it good hearing in the dense forest. With his long grasping tongue, he even hits right into his eyes. Very strange, but like the previous newborn Xandor, Xambo has a pink tongue. Normally okapis have a long tongue of 35 centimeters in a blue-gray color. “Two pink soles in a row, that’s really unique”, says coordinator Patrick, who has been working with okapis in the ZOO for more than 32 years. Xambo stays nice and warm in the stable. Only after a month
Did you know that small okapis only do their big errands after four to eight weeks? Yet they have been drinking milk happily all this time. An additional advantage: manure smells and that smell attracts predators to the vulnerable young animal. Without stench more chance of survival. Okapis are ruminants with a complicated digestive and intestinal system and mainly eat leaves. But first, they enjoy nutritious breast milk for 6 months. Once mature, males develop two horns on their heads that are 10 to 15 cm long. They are growths of their skull that are covered with skin.