Almost six weeks old, rare okapi calf born at ZooTampa dies

A rare and endangered okapi calf has passed away less two months after its birth at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

Zoo officials said the calf, a distant relative of the giraffe family, had a condition similar to diabetes, according to laboratory tests and a necropsy report. 

“We are devastated by this loss. While the calf reached milestones, such as standing on her own and nursing, she was less than six weeks old,” ZooTampa said in a statement. “We are watching the calf’s mother, Betty, closely and she is doing well. We care deeply for every animal at the Zoo.”

Okapis have a face that resembles a giraffe, but legs that resemble a zebra. They are typically found in remote forests in central Africa, such as the Ituri Forest of Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s also a place where conflict, as well as the solidarity lives of okapis, make it difficult for experts to study the species.