The Okapis inhabit northern Zaire. They live in dense rainforests. It was not discovered until the late 19th Century by a British explorer and author, Sir Harry Johnston. The Pymgy tribes of the Ituri Forest of Zaire gave this animal its name, O'api.
Okapis are between 4 -5 feet (1.5 - 1.8m) tall. They weigh about 465- 660 pounds (210.9 - 299.4kg). The average life span is 15 years. Okapis are the closest relatives of the giraffe. The body is brown with white strips on the rear end and their legs. One distinct feature of the Okapi is its long tongue. They use it to pull food to their mouth, groom hard-to-reach places, even their ears. Okapis have keen hearing and fast legs. They are usually solitary. It's only when time for them to mate that they come together.
They eat leaves, young shoots of trees, seed, and fruits.
Okapis reproduce every 2 - 3 years. The females usually give birth to only one calf. The average gestation period is 14 - 15 days.
As with most animals, the Okapis are endangered because their forest home is being taken away by the growth of the human population. Forests are being cut down every day. This also makes them susceptible to poachers.