On Friday, February 21, the Denver Zoo announced the birth of a male okapi, a species endangered in the wild.
The okapi is just one of the latest zoo babies at the nonprofit zoo. Visitors may see the new tawny frogmouth, believed by the zoo to be the first successfully reared at the zoo. Visitors may also see the antics of Sochi, an extremely endangered Amur leopard, with his mother, Dazma.
The okapi calf, named Jabari, was born to mother, Kalispell, and father Sekele. He will be behind the scenes for a short time longer, but is expected to soon make his debut before zoo visitors.
His mother was the last okapi birth before Jabari. She was born in 2009. Only six of his species have been born at the Denver Zoo.
His father was born in the San Diego Zoo, and was moved to Denver in 2010. Kalispell and Sekele were paired at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
Okapis look like a cross between zebras and giraffes. Their species is the only living relative to the giraffe. Experts estimate their numbers in the wild between 10,000 and 50,000, and declining due to habitat loss and hunting. In the wild, they also are threatened by unsettled political conditions in their native land. Outside of zoos, they are only found the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The tawny frogmouth hatchling is named Kermit and may be seen at Bird World.
Amur leopards have lived at the Denver Zoo for 25 years. They are known as the world’s most endangered cat, zoo experts say. Only 14-20 adults and five or six cubs were counted in the wild during the last census in 2007, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.