02 February 2017

The Natural History of a 'Forest Ghost'

The okapis may be known as the ghosts of the forest due to their ability to hide, but we’ve never hidden our love for these wonderful relatives of the giraffe. From discussing the Ituri Okapi Project to looking at the Weekly Journal’s story of okapis arriving from a forest in Zaire, we love to delve into the history of these creatures and their place in Harambe and the larger Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As part of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, there are many motes and questions about all manner of creatures, but there are many documents, postings, and exhibits dedicated to the okapis.

One such posting is for a lecture, which one would expect from an educational facility. This, as it turns out is part of a regular series of known as the Sunday Lecture, and this one just happens to be scheduled for next Sunday (perpetually, next Sunday, I would imagine). The lecture is entitled The Okapi: The Natural History of a ‘Forest Ghost.’ Now, I could tell you about the lecture myself, but the posting does such a wonderful job, why not let it do its job?

The Okapi
The Natural History of a ‘Forest Ghost’

This Sunday Dr. Kulunda will show some slides of the okapi in its native habitat of the Ituri Forest. As we as discussing its natural history, Dr. Kulunda will cover the following topics:
Okapi Conservation – The okapi is rare – is it endangered? How do you keep a reliable count of a creature that is so hard to see? 
Okapi Diet – Establishing a correct browse list. Do our relocated okapis have the right browse here in Harambe?
Okapi Rump Patterns – Why the zebra-like stripes? Do they function as a ‘follow me’ signal to baby okapi in dim forest light? 
Okapi & Giraffe Evolutionary Divergence – We will examine the similarities and difference between the savanna giraffe and its forest cousin the okapi. Did the giraffe neck evolve in response to greater competition for food in the savannah?
The location will be the Research Centre hut. The slides will begin as soon as it is dark.
Prayers for the generator are highly encouraged!

The idea that you may never get to attend this lecture may be disheartening to some of you. However, this posting is really there for curious children, and adults who have a child’s love for the okapis as well. There are often Cast Members present at the okapi viewing area along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. This lecture is a combination of some of the most common questions, and some more in depth discussion points. If you’ve caught the post, you’ll have just the right question to ask to learn more about these magnificent ghosts.

Of course, I’ll understand if you missed this posting because you caught sight of an okapi and became enamored…

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