October 18, 2018

Join us as we celebrate the third annual World Okapi Day!

The elusive okapi is a mysterious and secretive mammal that is nearly impossible to observe in the wild. Commonly mistaken as a hybrid between 2 or 3 animals, the okapi is its very own distinct species living in the spectacular, lush rainforests of central Africa.

Its existence is under serious threat from the impact of human activities. The okapi is entirely dependent on the forest sanctuary for its survival, and deforestation, along with poaching and mining, has contributed to its precipitous decline in recent decades.

Remaining unknown to the western world until 1901, the okapi is a cultural symbol in the Congo, and is considered an umbrella species for the immense biodiversity in the area – protecting the okapi means protecting all other species found in its habitat, including elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas.

Most people have never heard about the okapi, which is why we created a World Okapi Day – to help bring awareness to this endangered species, to share ways we’re helping protect this animal and to show how you can help too.

This year, we’re celebrating World Okapi Day in the Democratic Republic of Congo by creating fun and exciting races in 5 villages in and around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve! These races will involve the entire community and allow us to celebrate this beautiful animal and encourage people to live sustainably to protect its forest home. Four major villages were selected (Epulu, Mambasa, Wamba, Watsa and Mungbere), each sponsored by a Zoo in a different part of the world. The sponsoring zoos thus far include:

Ways you can help save okapi:

  • Visit your nearest zoo or okapi holding facility. See our list of partners and supporters in North America, Europe and Asia here.
  • Tell your family and friends about the okapi.
  • Recycle your old cell phones – they contain coltan a mineral mined in the forests of DRC. Recycling your phones means less mining in the forest.
  • Post your best okapi photos on social media and use the hashtags #OkapiConservation and #WorldOkapiDay on all your okapi-related posts. See some of our social media graphics to share below!
  • Change your social media cover photo to one of the options found on our Facebook page.
  • Give a $10 gift (or more) to the Okapi Conservation Project by visiting by clicking here. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to help protect okapi and its habitat.
  • Host your own okapi awareness event! Get creative! And be sure to share with us what you did! Take photos and email them to and you may be featured on our social media channels!