The ZSL London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, hosting many rare animal species. The zoo has just welcomed a new baby okapi. The animal named Ede by zookeepers was reportedly born on September 21 after its mother, Oni the Okapi, went into labour the previous evening. After the baby was born, he took his first ‘wobbly’ steps minutes later and was even tottering around confidently. The ZSL London Zoo shared the video of their new member on Twitter, which shows the calf roaming in the stables happily. But there is more that you must know about the animal. The only living relative of the giraffe, Okapis, are endangered, and the young calf’s birth adds a new ray of hope. Animals Are Reclaiming The World Series: Endangered Seahorses Return to Dorset Coast in UK Amid Lockdown. 

After the mother Okapi went into labour, the zookeepers kept a watchful eye overnight as they witnessed the little one coming out of his mother’s womb, following a reportedly 12-hour vigil. “EXCITING NEWS 😍 Oni the Okapi, who featured in last week's @ITV documentary, has given birth to a baby girl! Meet adorable Ede,” the zoo shared adorable footage of the calf, in the indoor dens. Giraffes Endangered! World's Tallest Animal Subspecies Nubian & Kordofan Giraffes Now in 'Critically Endangered' List. 

Watch the Video of Baby Okapi:


What Makes Okapis So Special?

The Okapi is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the animal has stripped marking reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. In fact, okapis are the only living relatives of the giraffe, and both are the members of the family Giraffidae.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the Okapi is endangered. According to reports, it is not clear as to how many remain in the wild. But scientists estimate that populations may have been slashed in half over the past two decades. Leopards are Okapi’s chief predator in the wild, and human hunters pose a greater threat to the animal’s existence. Poachers continue to kill okapis for their meat and skin. Again, human-induced deforestation also leads to destructions of crucial okapi habitats.

Because of its endangered status, Ede’s birth at the London zoo marks an exciting moment for both the zoo and the species as a whole.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 01, 2020 12:53 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website