Okapi Calf Born at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

Today is world Okapi day and to celebrate, the Disney Parks Blog is sharing some adorable pictures of the newest member at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This okapi calf was born on October 1 to mom, Zelda.

What’s happening:

  • Walt Disney World is growing…one animal at a time! Earlier this month a rare okapi calf was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  • The calf’s parents are, mom Zelda, and dad Mandazi. Both were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan.
  • The Species Survival Plan is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species.
  • While his name hasn’t been announced yet, the Disney Parks Blog shared that the young calf weighed 54 pounds and was up and mobile within the first hour of his birth.
  • He has been nursing and bonding backstage with his mom where they’ll remain for the next few months before joining the animals on the savanna.

About Okapis and Disney Conservation Fund:

  • This endangered species can be found in the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The shy and reclusive okapis are also known as the ghosts of the forest as they are rarely encountered in the wild—they weren’t even discovered until 1901.
  • There are an estimated 20,000 okapi in the world, and their population continues to decline due to poaching and habitat loss from commercial logging and mining.
  • The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) and the AZA’s Species Survival Plan have been at the forefront of okapi conservation for many years.
  • DCF has a long-standing relationship with the Okapi Conservation Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Recently, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was recognized by the AZA for its contributions to the Okapi Conservation Project.

What they’re saying:

  • Kim Thomson, okapi care team keeper: “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.”

More Walt Disney World Animals:

Earlier the year Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed some adorable animal babies. These cuties have since joined their herds and can be spotted on Kilimanjaro Safaris.