Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is giving us a look at its first newborn of 2013: an Okapi.
So what's an Okapi? It's a rare mammal, found only in Central Africa. The species is the only living relative of the giraffe, and have shorter necks. Okapis live in the rain forests, and they are known for being shy and reclusive. They have large upright ears that provide sensitive hearing, and long tongues used to pick vegetation from plants.
This newborn arrived at Lowry Park Zoo on January 6th. It's the first Okapi born this year, anywhere in North America.
In all of the facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, there are only 106 Okapis. About 10 are born each year -- 11 arrived at AZA facilities in 2012.
Tampa's new, yet-to-be-named Okapi has now increased from 64 pounds at birth, to 96 pounds. He spends his days following his mother around, and hiding in a spot provided by his mother.
In a written statement, Dr. Larry Killmar, Lowry Park Zoo's VP of animal science and conservation says, "The animal care staff has done an outstanding job managing these animals and implementing the husbandry guidelines to achieve this successful outcome."
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