The okapi is the only known living relative of the giraffe and lives in the rain forests of the
(formerly Democratic Republic of the Congo ) and western Zaire . It prefers to live a solitary and secluded life, away from human observation, and for this reason it was not discovered until 1900. It has a long, prehensile, purplish tongue, which it uses to grab leaves from bushes and trees, and even to groom its ears! The male has two small, skin-covered bony knobs on its forehead. The okapi finds the minerals its body needs by eating sulfurous clay found along river banks. The okapi is considered a "living fossil", because it's the only animal similar to the prehistoric giraffes. Uganda
Still rare and threatened, the okapi lives only in the tall primary forests of eastern DRC, mainly in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, centered around the
In the 1890s, the explorer Henry Morton Stanley described the Okapi as a kind of forest donkey. Others had thought it might be an antelope. When the explorer Sir Harry Johnston sent a piece of striped okapi skin to the British Museum, London scientists announced the discovery of a new species of forest zebra.When a complete okapi was finally found 1901, biologists were astonished to find that its closest living relative was the giraffe.
The lowland sector of
Gilman International Conservation