Okapi

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The okapi (Okapia johnstoni; pronounced /oʊˈkɑːpiː/) is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Central Africa. Although the okapi bears striped markings reminiscent of the zebra, it is most closely related to the giraffe.

The animal was brought to prominent European attention by speculation of its existence found in popular press reports covering Henry Morton Stanley journey's in 1887. Remains of a carcass were later sent to London by the English adventurer Harry Johnston and became a media event in 1901[2]. Today there are approximately 10,000–20,000 in the wild; 40 different worldwide institutions display them.[3]

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Etymology

The generic epithet okapia derives from the Lese Karo name o'api[citation needed], while the specific epithet (johnstoni) is in recognition of the explorer Sir Harry Johnston, who organized the expedition that first acquired an okapi specimen for science from the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The name "okapi" is a portmanteau of two Lese words, oka a verb meaning to cut and kpi which is a noun referring to the design made on Efé arrows by wrapping the arrow with bark so as to leave stripes when scorched by fire. The stripes on the legs of the okapi resemble these stripes on the arrow shafts. Lese legend says the okapi decorates itself with these stripes, adding to the okapi's great camouflage.[citation needed]

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