Over the course of the season, there has been some on-going construction in the southwestern corner of the Park just beyond the giraffe exhibit. That’s where the new okapi exhibit has been built and construction has just recently ended. We here at Tanganyika could not be more excited
If you are unfamiliar as to what an okapi (pronounced oh-kah-pee) is don’t feel too ashamed. In fact, back at the turn of the century, explorers of the Congo would hear native stories about the okapi and thought the creature was the stuff of superstition. Sir Henry Johnston found skins and a skull of an okapi and sent it back to scientists in London. These scientists incorrectly categorized the animal as a rare breed of horse when in all actuality, it’s more closely related to the giraffe. Okapis have an elongated skull like a giraffe does, as well as a purple prehensile tongue that is eighteen inches long, and large all-black eyes. Also like its brother the giraffe, okapis have two small horns on their heads which are covered in skin, except this is an attribute that only the male okapi possesses; the female okapi has small bumps where their horns would be.
Tanganyika is the only non-AZA accredited zoo to have an okapi, and we couldn’t be prouder of him. His name is Udumu and he has been with us for almost a year. He is still getting used to his new enclosure and is just beginning to settle in. He will be out for the public to see on Sunday September 27th! We hope you can come out and give Udumu a warm welcome to the Tanganyika Experience.