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Endangered okapi born at Dublin Zoo

An endangered okapi calf was born in Dublin Zoo and is looking for a name.

The male okapi was born in the early morning of July 7th and is the second one to ever be born in Ireland.

The first okapi born here was a female named Dalia. She has the same parents as the new male, Lumara (7) and Kitabu (14), and was born on October 31st 2019.

The baby was standing just 20 minutes after birth and was suckling within hours. He is in excellent health and has been growing steadily over the past month.

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“The baby is doing very well and visitors to the zoo walking through the African Plains may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the new arrival in the coming days,” Helen Clarke, team leader at Dublin Zoo, said.

Lumara and Kitabu have been showing their paternal instincts since their baby was born and have a great interest in his development.

Dublin Zoo is holding a competition to name the new calf, with the winner selected by the zoo keepers. The name must be of African descent to reflect the okapi's Democratic Republic of Congo’s origins.

To enter visit the Dublin Zoo website. The winner will be announced on their social media on September 9th and will receive a family day pass for the zoo.

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Okapis are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list. This is because of habitat loss, hunting, deforestation, and civil unrest. 

They are large-hooved animals related to the giraffe. Like giraffes, they have large, dark tongues.

They have a red-brown, velvety coat with distinctive black and white stripes on their back legs.

Okapis are herbivores that eat a diet of leaves, shoots, fruit, and fungi. They also eat clay and charcoal from burnt trees to help neutralise toxins in plants and to gain minerals.

They spend most of their time in their nest or hiding under the protection of their mother during their first two months.

Dublin Zoo has supported okapi conservation since 2012, with financial contributions to support rangers and community services in and around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For news and updates on Waterford, click here.

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