10 15/10/2016

Rare new arrival stomps into Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo’s latest arrival brings vital new blood to the breeding programme for the endangered species.

Okapi - Chester Zoo
13-year-old male okapi, Stomp, is settling in to his new surroundings at Chester Zoo. Keepers hope that he will bring vital new blood to the European population of okapi.

13-year-old Stomp recently arrived from Stuttgart in Germany and keepers at the zoo hope that hewill sire a number of new calves once he has been introduced to one of the zoo’s resident females, K’tusha.

Stomp is an important boost to the endangered species breeding programme which aims to breed a safety-net population in zoos to ensure their continued survival around the world. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is only country in the world where okapis can be found and their wild number is in decline due to habitat loss, hunting for their meat and the previous civil unrest in the DRC. 

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals, said:

Stomp will soon be paired up with one of our resident female okapis, K’tusha, who was also brought to the zoo in 2014. We hope that, once properly introduced, Stomp will work his magic and bring vital new blood to the endangered species breeding programme and sire a number of calves. 

Sadly, okapis are very mysterious and shy in nature and they’re experiencing a silent extinction, and for that reason it’s really important that we try to raise as much as awareness as possible about the threats the face so that urgent action can be taken.

Due to okapis being shy in nature, experts aren’t entirely sure how many are left in the wild – but there have been less sittings in their native range. 

Chester Zoo is working with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) giraffe and okapi specialist advisory group, which aims to develop a long-term conservation strategy for okapis to safeguard their future. The zoo also supports the DRC Wildlife Authority and their efforts to protect the species in the Ituri Forest in the DRC.

Stomp’s arrival brings the total number of okapis at Chester to four.