Cincinnati Zoo Shares Video of Excited Okapi Calf Exploring Outdoors for the First Time

Watching baby animals explore their new world is always so heartwarming. Everything is new and interesting, and their curiosity is adorable. The Cincinnati Zoo welcomed a new okapi calf named Mokonzi into its family back in January, and they shared a video of him exploring his outdoor enclosure for the first time - it'll definitely make you smile!

The zoo shared the video in mid-March and Mokonzi wasted no time running around to check things out. Mom was close by enjoying a snack, but Mokonzi was too excited to eat. Watch as he runs, prances, and even gets a case of the zoomies in his new home!

I love that the zookeeper was smiling and enjoying Mokonzi's reaction to being outdoors for the first time. Cincinnati Zoo fans also swooned over the video. @Suz laughed, "Safe to say he likes it outside!" @Mackenzie shared, "Mokonzi says "Hey Mom, look what I can do!" Beautiful day for the ZOOmies!" @Moriah made me laugh when she said, "Honestly can’t get over the fact that okapi look like they’re from Loony Toons world LOL!"

Related: Viewers Get First Glimpse of Rare 6-Week-Old Okapi Calf Born in UK Zoo

Fun Facts About Okapis

I'll admit that I don't think I've ever seen an okapi before this, and they are very interesting looking. It's almost as if its bottom half is a zebra, but according to Tree Hugger, they actually belong to the giraffe family. They also say that okapis are elusive, "About 100 live at zoos around the world, but otherwise, they're hidden in rainforests and rarely seen by humans." That must be why I've never seen one before! While you used to be able to find them in Uganda, they are now extinct there and are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The zebra-like stripes on an okapi's legs have two purposes. First, they provide camouflage to blend into the dense rainforests, where they seem to become a part of the shadows and filtered sunlight. The stripes are also referred to as "follow me" stripes, which leads us to their second purpose. They help baby okapis see and follow their mothers through the thick vegetation found in rainforests. Each stripe pattern is like a fingerprint for each okapi, and they may help okapis identify each another.

Like giraffes, okapis are herbivores and eat leaves, buds, and fruits from trees as well as ferns, grasses, and fungi. They can eat 40 to 65 pounds of food every day and spend a lot of time foraging for food. Because they eat from trees, their tongues are extremely long - so long that they can wash their own eyelids, clean out their ears, and swat insects away from their neck with it.

And here's another interesting fact: they make sounds that humans cannot hear. Tree Hugger shared, "Only computer analyses can reveal their infrasonic signals. Researchers believe these are used to help mother okapis stay in touch with their calves while foraging, allowing a secret channel of communication that won't tip off their main predator, the leopard."

What a beautiful animal! Unfortunately, okapis are listed as endangered. Researchers estimate that there are only 10,000 to 30,000 left in the wild, and that numbers have more than halved over the past 25 years. Hopefully these animals will be able to survive, as they are a very interesting bunch.

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