Rare mammal born at Hampshire zoo

Basingstoke Gazette: Dikembe the Okapi calf with mum Dumela Dikembe the Okapi calf with mum Dumela

A RARE relative of the giraffe has been born at Marwell Zoo.

The male Okapi calf was born on Monday and has been named Dikembe.

The Okapi is a forest-living relative of the giraffe that is only found in the wild in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was discovered around 100 years ago.

Zoo staff said Dikembe is remaining close to its mother Dumela in what is called the “follower phase”.

Ian Goodwin, collection manager of Hoofstock at Marwell Zoo, said: “This is Dumela’s first calf and she is doing very well. Dikembe will spend some time nesting while he builds strength and grows.

“Okapis are fascinating animals and are the only living relative to the giraffe.

“As well as a long neck, Okapis have reddish bodies with black and white striped legs and a 12-inch tongue which helps them to strip leaves and buds from trees.

“The tongue is also long enough for them to clean its eyelids and ears.”

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