The distribution and population status of the elusive okapi, Okapia johnstoni

The okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is one of only two remaining giraffid species. This elusive animal is endemic to the central and north-eastern rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is poorly known. As part of a multipartner, rangewide okapi conservation project, in 2013, the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group (IUCN SSC GOSG), the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) organized a participatory, multistakeholder workshop in Kisangani, DRC to review the conservation status of okapi and develop the first-ever okapi conservation strategy (ZSL, 2013). The workshop highlighted a substantial decline in okapi populations over the last decades and was the basis of an IUCN Red List reassessment, resulting in the species’ re-classification as ‘Endangered’ (previously ‘Near Threatened’; Mallon et al., 2013). Here, we summarize the latest information on the distribution and population status of okapi, highlighting the major threats facing this unique and iconic species.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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