Kimosi, our young female okapi, is settling into her new life at a zoo in France.
Kimosi left Wild Place Project last week to be paired with a male okapi at Zoo du Bassin d’Arcachon, near Bordeaux.
Wild Place keeper Ellie Adams travelled with her, to help her settle in to her new home. “She travelled really well,” said Ellie. “I stayed with her for a few days and she seemed very relaxed and calm and seemed to be enjoying the French sunshine.”
Ellie added: “She has met her new companion, a male called Rab who has arrived at the zoo from Rotterdam. They will form a new breeding pair and we have high hopes that there will be the patter of tiny hooves in future.”
The move highlights the importance of cooperative working between zoos in order to further the captive breeding programmes for rare and endangered species.
There are four okapi remaining at Wild Place Project – Lodja, Kivu, Ruby and Kibibi – and we hope they will breed again in future.
There are only 13 okapis in the UK and Wild Place Project has been recommended to continue its successful breeding programme for the species, which is classed as Endangered. There were just 13 okapi births in Europe over the past two years and two of these were at Wild Place Project.
Okapi are the only living relative of the giraffe. They are native only to the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa where they are threatened by expansion of human settlement and forest degradation. A major current threat is also the presence of illegal armed groups in and around the key protected areas for the species.
Visitors can get up-close to the okapi in an okapi feeding experience. To find out more click: