Today, the 18th October, is the first ever World Okapi Day! The Okapi is an endangered species found in the African rainforest and it is the closest living relative of giraffes.
This species is little known which is why the Okapi Conservation Project started the World Okapi day to promote the conservation and knowledge of this beautiful creature. The species is so elusive in the wild that it wasn’t formally discovered until 1901 and it has become the umbrella species in the Congo. The Okapi is threatened by deforestation as it is reliant on rainforest cover for survival. If the Okapi is protected and thus the forest is protected other species such as elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas will also be protected.
The Okapi Conservation Project list a number of ways that we can all help on their website:
- Visit your nearest zoo with Okapi (my nearest zoo with Okapi is Chester zoo which has a wonderful collection of animals and does great work for conserving species http://www.chesterzoo.org/explore-the-zoo/animals/mammals/hoofed-animals/okapi )
- Tell your friends and family about Okapi (do they know what an Okapi is? If not this is your chance to tell them about this uniquely beautiful animal)
- Post your best okapi photos on social media (don’t forget to hashtag #OkapiConservation #WorldOkapiDay )
- Change your social media cover photo (see the options on the Okapi Conservation Projects facebook page 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/okapiconservationproject/?ref=br_rs )
- Recycle your old mobile phone (coltan, found in mobile phones, is mined in rainforests so recycling can prevent further exploitation of the Okapi’s home)
- Donate to Okapi Conservation Project 🙂
- Host your own Okapi Awareness event (let your imagination go wild!)
If you would like to learn more about Okapi’s please visit the Okapi Conservation Project website and IUCN red list.