OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden says a new member was added to the zoo family in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

First-time mom, Kayin gave birth to a bouncing baby boy on Wednesday, September 7 at 3:42 a.m. in the Zoo’s okapi barn.

The last okapi born at the OKC Zoo was Kayin in 2015, and now, she has a calf of her own!

This new arrival marks the seventh okapi born at the OKC Zoo.

“Our expert caretakers are seeing Kayin be a very attentive mom and showing exceptional maternal instincts,” said the OKC Zoo on Facebook. “Her new calf is already meeting milestones like nursing and bonding with mom.”

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.

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.