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Wildlife Wednesdays: Is It a Zebra? Is It a Giraffe? No, It’s an Okapi – New Baby Welcomed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Family

posted on June 27th, 2012 by Matt Hohne, Animal Operations Director, Disney’s Animal Programs

The cast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is delighted that we get to introduce our guests to so many rare and fascinating animals. One of those is the okapi, an animal that, because of its stripes, is often thought to be related to the zebra but, actually, is the only living relative of the giraffe.


We are very happy to announce that late last week — on June 21 — we welcomed a new okapi calf to the Disney’s Animal Kingdom family. Our teams usually take some time deciding on names for new arrivals, but they quickly chose the African name “Nafuna” for the female calf—it means “delivered feet first.”

First-time mom, Zawadi, and the calf, who weighed 35 pounds at birth, are doing very well (the baby already had her first wellness exam) and are being monitored closely by the animal care team in their backstage home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The calf’s dad, Akili, lives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where guests also can see okapi on the resort’s savanna.

Guests will have two opportunities to catch a glimpse of the okapi calf a couple of months from now, when she goes out in the park’s Ituri Forest. Guests can see okapi when they ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition and when they travel the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

In the wild, the okapi is considered rare, and they are threatened by habitat loss due to logging and human settlement, as well as by hunting.

Okapi fun facts:

  • The okapi’s stripes work as camouflage when hiding in the partial sunlight that filters through the forest canopy.
  • Okapi are typically solitary animals, living alone or in mother-offspring pairs. They are extremely wary and secretive, making okapi very difficult to observe in the lowland rainforest of central Africa where they make their home.
  • The okapi’s gestation period is about 14 months.
  • Adult okapi can reach weights of 550-720 pounds, with females typically being larger than males. They can live over 30 years in zoological facilities.
  • Normally silent, female okapi vocalize with a soft “chuff” during courtship and when calling to their calves. There are infrasonic qualities to their call, which are below the frequency that the human ear can pick up.

Check out these other posts from the Wildlife Wednesdays series:

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort



Jean from ME on June 27th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Happy Birthday little Nafuna, so cute!


Barbara from NY on June 27th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

she is soooooooo cute!!!!!!


Melody on June 28th, 2012 at 8:15 am

I adore Wildlife Wednesdays and seeing all the great things going on at Animal Kingdom. This lil calf is sooooo cute.


Debra on June 28th, 2012 at 10:51 am

That’s so wonderful!! Welcome Nafuna!! I can’t wait to see her. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing Jabali (baby elephant) again and how much he has grown since I saw him last. I love hearing news about Animal Kingdom births. Thank-you.


Rochelle on June 28th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

1. Are okapi usually delivered feet or head first?
2. What name did they decide on for the rhino?


Kyra on July 11th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

The okapi is one of my favorite animals! Welcome, welcome, little Nafuna.