Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)
The okapi 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 zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. A 2013 study determined there are 10,000 okapis remaining in the wild, down from 40,000 a decade ago. The same year, the okapi was reclassified as an endangered species. The okapi’s tongue is also long enough for the animal to wash its eyelids and clean its ears (inside and out). Okapis are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed, with the exception of mothers and offspring. Okapis forage along fixed, well-trodden paths through the forest. Okapis are herbivores, feeding on tree leaves and buds, grasses, ferns, fruits, and fungi. Many of the plant species on which okapis feed are poisonous to humans.
photo credits: wiki, zooborns, baynews9