Kibibi, the okapi, is leaving Wild Place Project to find a new mate and help the survival of this iconic species.
The 13-year-old will make the 90-mile journey by road to Marwell Zoo in Hampshire on Thursday (October 21, 2021).
Keepers here at Wild Place Project are particularly fond of Kibibi as she was the first animal to arrive at the zoo when it opened in 2013. Joe Norman, Animal Team Leader at Wild Place Project, said: “We are sorry to see her leave but she will hopefully find a new mate at Marwell and have more calves, which will help maintain this species.”
Kibibi became a mother almost seven years ago when she had a female calf which was named Ruby.
Joe said: “She was a really good, attentive mother then and there is every reason to think she will be again.”
Okapi, with their velvet-like fur and distinctive striped markings, are about the size of zebras, but giraffes are their only living relatives.
Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and operates Wild Place Project, is part of a European breeding programme, which it helped establish in the 1960s, to help safeguard this remarkable species.
Okapi numbers in the wild have fallen due to hunting and habitat loss and they are classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.