The Okapi, Okapia johnstoni, is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Although rather horse-like in appearance, this intriguing-looking mammal is in fact a relative of the giraffe. It inhabits forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and was also previously known from Uganda, where it is now thought to be extinct.
The main threat to the Okapi is habitat loss in the form of logging and human settlement. Hunting for meat and skins is also a problem, and this species has declined rapidly in areas where cable snares are persistently used.
The Okapi is officially protected under Congolese law and is also a national symbol of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Significant populations occur in the Okapi Faunal Reserve and Maiko National Park, and the effective protection of these two areas has been identified as the most important measure for the Okapi’s long-term survival.