Just behind the river hippos’ beach, you’ll find a most unusual animal: the okapi. With its white-and-black striped hindquarters and front legs, it looks like it must be related to zebras. But take a look at an okapi’s head, and you’ll notice a resemblance to giraffes. Its long, dark, prehensile tongue, just like a giraffe’s, helps the okapi strip the buds and young leaves from the understory brush of their rain forest home. Our researchers discovered that okapis vocalize with very low frequencies—too low for humans to hear! It’s only when we look at recordings via specialized computer software that these infrasonic mutterings become evident. San Diego Zoo Global helps support the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, which protects and studies this rare and unusual forest dweller. Our newest okapi calf, a male named Elombe, was born in January 2019. He is now occasionally venturing out to explore the expanded exhibit area at the Zoo with his mom, Subira. Guests can also see Mosi, a young male born in 2017, and Elombe's grandmother, Safarani.
Did you know? A scent gland on each foot leaves behind a sticky, tar-like substance wherever the okapi walks, marking its territory.