OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This fall, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will welcome a new addition to its okapi family when 6-year-old Kayin gives birth to her first calf.

The last okapi born at the OKC Zoo was Kayin in 2015 and now, life is coming full circle with the awaited arrival of her calf.

“We are extremely excited about Kayin’s pregnancy and cannot wait to see her caring for her own calf,” said Tracey Dolphin, OKC Zoo’s curator of hoofstock and primates. “An okapi birth is a significant event not only for our animal family but for the okapi population as a whole.”

The calf’s father, 4-year-old Bosomi, arrived at the OKC Zoo in 2020 from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.

This will be the first offspring for the okapi pair, Kayin and Bosomi.

OKC Zoo Okapi Pair Kayin and Bosomi
Photo credit Logan S.

The Zoo’s veterinary team confirmed Kayin’s pregnancy through ultrasounds, and following an approximate 15-month gestation period she is expected to give birth this fall.

You can watch Kayin and Bosomi on their parenting journey at their habitat located across from Predator Pass.

Native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa, okapis are a reclusive species often referred to as the “ghosts of the forests,” and are the only living relative of the giraffe.

Classified as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, okapi populations in the wild – estimated between 10,000 and 50,000 – are currently decreasing primarily because of habitat loss resulting from logging and human settlement. The presence of illegal armed groups around protected areas and poaching are also major threats.

You can help conserve okapi by donating used electronic devices at the OKC Zoo.

Small electronics frequently contain coltan, and mining for this substance threatens the habitats of okapi and other endangered species.

When individuals donate used phones or other electronics, the coltan from those devices is re-used and reduces the need to mine for the compound in okapi habitats.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, at $12 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over, and free for children under 3.