Baby Okapi born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

And now for today’s moment of cuteness. “Nafuna”, a 35-pound female baby Okapi, was recently born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Reported healthy after her first wellness exam, Nafuna, whose name means delivered feet first, was born on June 21st following a 14-month gestation period.

Okapi are one of the animals who always generate excitment in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can see them in three places. Guests will be able to catch a glimpse of Nafuna and first-time mom Zawadi a few months from now at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Ituri Forest. Father Akili currently lives on the savannah at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. They’re also available on the Pagani walking trail at DAK.

Considered rare in the wild, okapis are often thought as being related to the zebra because of their stripes. But okapis are in fact, related to the giraffe. Their natural habitat is the Ituri Forest, a dense rain forest in central Africa, which is often threatened by loggers, hunters and human settlements.

Disney’s commitment to conservation and okapis extend beyond breeding. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund provides support for wildlife study, the protection of habitats and the development of community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems around the world.

Okapi fun facts:

  • Okapi newborns can stand up within 30 minutes of birth and will nurse for the first time within an hour of birth.
  • They have the same coloring as an adult but have a short fringe of hair along the spine, which generally disappears by the time they are 12 to 14 months old.
  • Okapi are typically solitary animals, living alone or in mother-offspring pairs.
  • Okapi’s stripes work as camouflage when hiding in the partial sunlight that filters through the forest canopies of Africa.
  • They are extremely wary and secretive, making okapi very difficult to observe in the lowland rainforest of central Africa where they make their home.
  • 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 detect.