The okapi, a close relative of the giraffe, is endemic to the tropical forests of central and north-eastern Democratic of Congo (DRC). It is listed as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List. ZSL's relationship with the okapi dates back to its official discovery in 1901 by a ZSL member.
- Dr Noëlle Kümpel is the manager of ZSL’s Okapi work
Partners and sponsors
ZSL is leading this range-wide okapi project on behalf of ICCN, and relies on the efforts of multiple partners working across the entire okapi range and beyond, including Gilman International Conservation, the Okapi Conservation Project, Wildlife Conservation Society, Lukuru Foundation, Frankfurt Zoological Society and University of Cardiff.
The project is generously funded by the UK government's Darwin Initiative, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.
22-25 May 2013: following months of planning and preparation, ZSL and ICCN hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop in Kisangani, DRC, to develop the first-ever species-wide conservation strategy for the okapi. The workshop highlighted that the okapi is faring worse than scientists previously thought, threatened throughout its range by the presence of dangerous rebels, elephant poachers and illegal miners. Participants agreed on actions needed to secure its persistence in the wild.
Studying Okapi Genetics: PhD student Dave Stanton has been conducting a study of okapi genetics as part of ZSL's range-wide okapi conservation project. The results are expected to inform conservation efforts going into the future.