NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Many individuals bear in mind April, the pregnant giraffe which went viral a couple of years in the past when keepers introduced she was pregnant.
The Audubon Nature Institute could have one thing to rival the joy, at the least within the zoo world.
Curators introduced Asili, a four-year-old okapi at Audubon’s west financial institution breeding facility, is pregnant.
“I’m very enthusiastic about it,” stated Michelle Hatwood, Basic Curator on the Audubon Species Survival Middle close to the Plaquemines-Orleans Parish line. “it’s a giant deal within the trade, for zoos, and for conservation.
“It’s an animal that lots of people don’t learn about,” Hatwood stated. “It’s really associated to a giraffe.”
Nonetheless, the okapi seems to be extra like some cross between a horse and a zebra.
5 of them stay at Audubon’s sprawling facility close to the Orleans-Plaquemines Parish line, the place almost 500 acres are devoted to a venture to breed animals for zoo populations in North America.
A number of years in the past, Audubon joined San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance in a partnership they dubbed “The Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife,” an effort to make sure sustainable populations of distinctive and endangered zoo animals.
The 2 establishments have been working towards the purpose of breeding okapis ever since.
The varied species, from giraffes to sitatunga, stay in giant enclosures in a 500-acre facility.
Right here, the okapi alone enclosure stretches over 22 acres, offering the animals a possibility to graze in dense forests nearer to their pure habitats than a zoo would usually present.
“It’s just like the rain forest of the south,” Hatwood stated. “We get lots of rain similar to they’d within the wild and that is the right habitat for them.
If all goes in line with plan, curators hope Asili will ship her calf subsequent July.
Listed here are some particulars about okapi offered by the Audubon Nature Institute:
Okapi have been first found by the Western world in 1901, however nonetheless little or no is thought about them. They stay in thick forests within the DRC, are very exhausting to review, and their inhabitants is unknown.
Okapi are endangered, threats to their inhabitants and habitat embody unlawful mining, habitat loss, and civil unrest.
There are 82 okapi in 28 zoos in the USA and the Species Survival Middle has 5 (3 males and a couple of females). We plan to develop the inhabitants right here to 10 animals plus their offspring right here, making us one of many prime 3 breeding and conservation facilities for okapi within the US, together with White Oak Conservation Middle (FL) and our companions, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.
AZA-accredited Zoos within the US work intently with EAZA accredited Zoo in Europe to share data about this species as a worldwide administration effort.
Zoos within the US and Europe preserve these species by financially supporting and dealing with the Okapi Conservation Mission in Africa (particularly, the Ituri Forest within the DRC).
Okapi females will often get pregnant for the primary time at age 4 or 5. Our feminine, Asili, who has been confirmed pregnant is 4 years outdated. They’ve one offspring.
Kikari, age 12, is the bull advisable to father offspring with Asili and Minazi. Every calf born is a celebration within the trade, as they’re a difficult animal to breed and with a 14-month gestation, offspring aren’t frequent. Three calves have been born within the U.S. during the last 12 months.
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