04 March 2021

We’re celebrating the birth of a rare baby okapi.

The female calf, born to mum K’tusha (7) and dad Stomp (17), arrived safely following a 14-month-long pregnancy.

CCTV cameras at the zoo captured the calf’s first wobbly steps as she was gently encouraged to her feet by mum, shortly after birth. Now, the shy new arrival has stepped outside for the first time after spending the first few weeks of life snuggled up in a cosy nest.

Our keepers have named the adorable youngster ‘Nia Nia’ in homage to a small village that is in the centre of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a place where the zoo’s field partners are based, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the only country in the world where okapis are found in the wild.

The okapi’s zebra-like stripes on its back legs allow offspring to easily follow their mothers into the dense forests in the DRC, keeping them well hidden from predators. Its elusive nature, paired with its impressive sense of hearing and unique camouflage, led to the species being nicknamed the ‘African unicorn’ as the animal went undiscovered until as recently as 1901.