Okapis - Animaux extraordinaires du ZooParc


Okapia johnstoni

IUCN status
Find out more


« The okapi is one of the most recently discovered mammals »

Is the okapi more like a horse or a giraffe?

A question left unanswered for a long time

The okapi is an intriguing animal. Its long zebra-striped legs, its size, and its build led scientists to originally classify it as an equine, like the horse and the zebra. But it is actually more like a giraffe! The okapi shares many characteristics with the giraffe, three of which are particularly noticeable: an exceptionally long neck, a tongue that can reach more than 30 cm in length, and two bony horns on the top of the skull. Only male okapis have these horns, called “ossicones”, whereas both male and female giraffes possess them.

Okapi - Animaux extraordinaires du ZooParc

Did you know?

A pretty little okapi

On Saturday August 4, 2018, an okapi was born at Beauval! After a 15-month gestation period, Tafari, a young first-time mother, gave birth in the peace and quiet of her box. This is good news for the conservation of this fabulous species, which is classified as endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

Beauval Nature rescues okapis in the Congo

For centuries, the Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been a refuge for okapis and for populations of Pygmies who depend on its natural resources. Civil war, which has raged in this country for years, has led to an increase in poaching and deforestation.

Beauval Nature supports the Okapi Conservation Project, the objectives of which are as follows: to manage the okapi population, to increase eco-guard patrols, to develop equipment for okapi monitoring, and to launch a reforestation programme with the support of local communities.

Okapi - Animaux extraordinaires du ZooParc
Okapi - Animaux extraordinaires du ZooParc
Beauval Nature

Sponsor our okapis

Establish a strong bond with your favourite animal whilst supporting conservation programmes through the Beauval Nature association!


Learn more about the species

  • Diet
  • Gestation period
    15 months
  • Litter size
    1 young
  • Habitat
    Tropical forests
A late discovery
Did you know that the okapi is one of the most recently discovered mammals? Though local populations had for a long time already known about the okapi, Western scientists only managed to observe this strange animal at the beginning of the 20th century! It should be noted that the okapi is a particularly furtive animal and is very adept at camouflaging itself in its environment to avoid predators.
An expert of self-medication
As part of its diet, the okapi eats large quantities of plants that are toxic to other species, including humans. In order to treat the mild discomfort caused by this food, it has developed an unusual but effective habit. After forest fires, okapis have been observed eating charcoal! This is an excellent remedy for various stomach aches.
Okapi reproduction
Unlike the giraffe, the okapi is a solitary animal. Males and females only meet during the breeding season. The calf is born after a gestation period of about fifteen months and is able to suckle after only 20 minutes. Just two days later, the calf will be ready to follow its mother. The first two months of a calf’s life are spent in a nest, hidden amongst the vegetation. Being concealed like this reduces the risk of predation for the okapi family.

Where can I see them in the park?

Take full advantage of the experience thanks to our mobile application!
Find out more


Other species in the territory

Ready for the adventure?

Book your tickets now and take advantage of our exclusive internet offers!

I already have a ticket! Sign in