A four-week-old okapi calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park — the 41st born in the park — explored his outdoor habitat for the first time on Friday.
Until Friday the male calf, born on Jan. 18 and named Amaranta, had been spending time in the okapi barn and outside yard. But after showing signs of curiosity, park staff provided the calf and his mother, Makini, access to the main forested habitat, which is viewable by guests.
“I felt he did great for his first time. It can be very intimidating coming out here into such a large exhibit with the trees and other animals,” said Lissa McCaffree, senior keeper at the park said. “He was a little nervous at first but quickly calmed down and started to explore and run around with his mom.”
The okapi is an elusive animal and endangered species that was unknown to science until the early 20th century. They live in the dense, tropical mountain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though they look similar to a zebra, they are the closest living relative to the giraffe.
The okapi calf and his mother will be on exhibit Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.