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Okapi

Okapi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae[?]
Genus: Okapia
Binomial name
Okapia johnstoni
The okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is the closest living relative of the giraffe. Native to the rain forests around the Congo River, it was known only to the local people until 1901; this obscurity led the Society for Cryptozoology to adopt it as an emblem.

Okapis have dark bodies, with striking horizontal white stripes on their back legs. The body shape is similar to that of the giraffe, except that okapis have much shorter necks. Both species have long, flexible, blue tongues that they use to strip leaves and buds from trees. The okapi's tongue is long enough for the okapi to wash its eyelids. Male okapis have short, skin-covered horns.

In addition to tree leaves and buds, okapis eat grass, ferns, fruit, and fungi.

Okapis are largely nocturnal and essentially solitary, coming together only to breed. Only one infant is born at a time, after a gestation period of from 421 to 457 days. The young are nursed for up to ten months, and reach maturity at between four and five years of age.

Okapis are not classified as endangered, but they are threatened by habitat destruction[?]. Conservation work in the Congo includes the creation of reserves, and continuing studies of okapi habits.



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