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Rare Okapi Born at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

The okapi was born in early January.

Two weeks ago, Lowry Park Zoo welcomed a rare okapi calf to the family.

The forest giraffe, found only in Central Africa, was born on Jan. 6, marking the first birth of the new year at the zoo. The okapi was also the first birth in the North American population this year, according to zoo officials.

The three-week old calf was born at 64 pounds, and is now 96 pounds, according to zoo officials. He spends his days following his mother around the barn.

Okapis have reddish-brown, velvet-like coats with horizontal zebra-like striping on their hindquarters and legs, according to zoo officials. Their body shape is similar to a giraffe, but with shorter necks.

"We are very pleased with the successful birth, and are delighted that Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has contributed to the long term sustainability of this unique species," said Dr. Larry Killmar, vice president of animal science and conservation, in a zoo press release. "The animal care staff has done an outstanding job managing these animals and implementing the husbandry guidelines to achieve this successful outcome."

Have you been by the Lowry Park Zoo to see the okapi?

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