BAY LAKE, Fla. – Walt Disney World’s new baby okapi born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has officially made his big savannah debut.
Disney said the okapi, named Beni, was born last July to mother Olivia. He is the 12th okapi born at Walt Disney World Resort and the fifth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
For the past several months, Beni and his mother bonded in a backstage habitat where animal care teams were monitoring them as they spend time nuzzling and nursing.
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“The first calf to be born at Walt Disney World Resort since 2018, he currently weighs just under 100 pounds and stands little over three feet tall from hoof to shoulder. He could eventually grow to between five and six feet tall and up to 650 pounds,” Disney said on its blog. “Our animal care team is monitoring Beni and making sure he hits all the milestones of a growing okapi.”
The okapi is native to the Ituri Rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The okapi is similar in many ways to its towering cousin, the giraffe. Both have cloven hooves and short, skin-covered horns. Okapi are listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the world’s leading conservation organization, as an endangered species.
Disney said there are an estimated 20,000 okapi in the world, and their population continues to decline due to poaching and habitat loss.
Beni was born all thanks to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which ensures responsible breeding of threatened species in managed care.
Disney said the pair can now be seen on the Pembe Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
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