Okapis are my favourite zoo animal. The only place I’ve ever seen them is at Chester Zoo, where we went again this week. Last time we got a glimpse of one of their two okapi but no pictures. Okapi are very shy and private so I wasn’t expecting to see massive amounts of them. But this time, look, a lovely picture! This one is Dicky (although I couldn’t see any name signs so I googled him just now). I was pretty chuffed to get lots of great pictures of Dicky, doing his tree eating thing with his long tongue and generally pottering around.
Then we moved on to the next enclosure (Okapi don’t like company except when they want to breed) to find another one which the website tells me is Stuma.
Stuma is bigger and redder and she also gave me lots of pictures. I was delighted. After a time she wandered behind a bush and Mr S and I went to watch the giraffes for a while.
I like giraffes but compared to okapi they couldn’t compete. Still, watching the adults scramble for their “haynet” (a load of branches winched up, and up, and up) was fun. Then I saw a sign about okapi and we went inside, to the indoor part of the giraffe and okapi enclosures. The giraffe indoor areas were open and fairly uninteresting but the okapi bit was much more private, with only little windows to view their indoor areas. I peeked into Stuma’s area and saw…
Stuma and Usuala! According to the website, Usuala was born 13 March this year and is male. I had no idea they’d got a calf (and again didn’t see any signage about it) so I was blown away. Stuma licked him throughout his nursing session and when he was done they went outside together! When he started posing for pictures I thought I might explode with excitement!
Mr S was very patient. Yes, he thought they were very nice, but when we heard someone shout that a giraffe was running around, he went to check it out and quickly came back for me.
And this little one was indeed running. If you have never seen a giraffe galloping, here is a video (not mine) of the same herd, although probably made before this particular calf was born.
I have to say I think this little one was even cuter because the older giraffes didn’t get involved. I think maybe the wind was stirring him up because he’d suddenly just sprint off from a standing start, gradually slowing into a slow motion cater before stopping. But then in no time he’d be off again!
In all likelihood I did explode then from the overload of awesomeness. Despite the fact that we’d only seen about 1/3 of the zoo I told Mr S that anything else I saw would be a bonus and he was in charge of where we went for the rest of the trip. But just to prove that we did see other animals as well… here’s an 8 day old elephant!