Riley is a year and a half old male Okapi who has come to us all the way from the Cincinnati Zoo. Riley is joining Miraq, our 6-year-old male, in Zambezi River Hippo Camp. Just like young kids or puppies, our young Okapi still gets what you might call the “zoomies” and runs around his yard playfully throwing his head. He loves snacking on browse and lettuce and enjoys checking on his buddy Miraq through the fence.
Okapis are listed as endangered, as there are estimated to only be about 15,000 individuals left in the wild. Okapis have a unique stripe pattern that many people compare to zebras, however, the Okapis are actually the closest living relative to giraffes! The stripes are an adaptation that allows them to blend into their forest habitat to hide from predators. These elusive creatures actually weren’t even discovered until 1901- only 120 years ago- because they are so good at hiding! Many people do not have the opportunity to see or learn about these amazing animals, so it is very exciting to have two individuals here at the Memphis Zoo! These two animals will help their species by educating the public on the importance of their survival!
Riley is adapting well and we are excited to have him here at the Memphis Zoo. Come say hello next time you visit!
Article By: Jessica Faulk