Celebrate World Okapi Day 2019 at Brookfield Zoo

Makemba, an okapi at Brookfield Zoo (Photo Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

You have to travel into Habitat Africa: The Forest here at Brookfield Zoo to see the okapi, an incredible creature that might resemble a zebra mixed with an antelope, but is actually most closely related to the giraffe. In the wild, you would have to travel into the dense jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo to find these enigmatic creatures. Although they are a cultural symbol in the only country where you can find them, their existence remains threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal gold mining, and bushmeat poaching, despite having protected status since 1933.

That's why the Okapi Conversation Project created World Okapi Day, which celebrates this special animal and the forest ecosystem in which it lives. 

While World Okapi Day is Friday, October 18, Brookfield Zoo will be celebrating on Sunday, October 20, and we have some very special activities in store. 

(Photo Credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

Brookfield Zoo will be offering an incentive for guests to participate in cell phone recycling at the zoo. Brookfield Zoo has a partnership with Eco-cell, which recycles cell phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, adapters, chargers, MP3 players, handheld gaming systems, and the accessories that come with them. Coltan, a mineral used in electronic devices, is mined in Maiko National Park and Virunga National Park, which are both critical okapi habitats. Beyond discussions about the impacts of agricultural practices, poaching, and demand for gold and diamonds, a focus on electronics recycling, with the purpose of reducing demand for coltan, is a tangible action step that we can all take. 

For every cellphone you bring with you to recycle on Sunday, October 20, you will receive one free ticket for our Giraffe Feeding encounter. The collection box will be available at the guest relations booth at the Giraffe Feeding Encounter along the 31st Street Walkway. In the event of rain, the collection box will be available at the indoor HA! Forest Exhibit where Animal Care Staff will be hosting activities celebrating World Okapi Day. The free ticket for the feeding encounter is valid until December 31, 2020.

Also, be sure to head to Brookfield Zoo's Facebook page on Thursday, October 18 for a Facebook Live discussion about okapis where you can learn all the wild and wonderful facts about them and ask questions as well.

Another great way to celebrate World Okapi Day is to consider adopting our okapi as part of our Share the Care program. Your donation helps to provide expert care for okapi for a full year.

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Posted: 10/14/2019 10:44:02 AM by Sean Keeley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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