Antwerp zoo welcomes baby okapi


Delightful news in the Antwerp zoo: okapi Ubundu was born at the end of January, after fourteen months of gestation. His father, Bondo, possesses the most important genes of all male okapis in zoos all over the world. Besides Lindi, his mother, two other females, Antonia and Yenthe, live in Antwerp. Five of a species that only occurs in the wild in Congo, but is also endangered there.

Ubundu, named after a city in Congo, weighed 24.5 kilos at birth and had a height at the withers of 86 centimetres. Both mother and newborn are doing well. Now that it is gradually getting warmer, Ubundu is taking his first steps outside and visitors can come and admire him. When the temperature dips below 14°C, the sprog stays indoors where it's nice and warm.

The Antwerp zoo is an international studbook keeper and coordinator of the European breeding programme. It determines the best match in order to maintain maximum diversity and thus give the species the best chance of survival. Should it ever come down to it, a back-up population in the wild could be used. Because, as said, the okapi stock is not in good shape. In their homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are barely 15,000 specimens left.