An energetic okapi with a pink tongue is born at Antwerp Zoo


Antwerp Zoo is delighted with the birth of Xandor, the okapi born there on 23 February. Xandor means "Protector of the people", which is highly appropriate for an endangered species.

The baby of this type of exotic animal is very vulnerable and is best kept indoors for some time after its birth in our country. The zookeepers were surprised to notice that the newborn did not have the usual long blue-grey tongue, but rather a pink tongue. This is only the second time that Antwerp ZOO has had such an experience. Xandor is not the docile type, who sits on the scales without flinching when asked nicely. He is clearly in the other camp, one of those unruly children who swing their legs in all directions. Even if, at 17 kg, he is a bit of a featherweight.

The zoo is delighted with each birth, which is important for the survival of the species. This is doubly true for the endangered okapi. There are currently only 178 of these animals, although 270 is the absolute goal in zoos around the world in order to maintain a genetically healthy population. So we need to move up a gear! And this is where Antwerp ZOO, as holder of the international okapi register and coordinator of the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) breeding programme, is playing a role on a European level. With exactly 103 years of experience with okapi, a world first, it unfailingly keeps the degree of relatedness as low as possible to avoid inbreeding.

Have a bit more patience, Xandor, summer is coming.