The okapi, a close relative of the giraffe and the national symbol of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is on the brink of extinction, according to the latest checklist of threatened species.
The horse-sized creature, with its striking zebra-like markings and long blue tongue, is unique to the Ituri rainforest in the north-east of the country. It is also known as the ‘forest giraffe’ and is revered in its homeland.
However, the latest update of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species says that the okapi is now endangered, rated as being only one step away from the highest risk of extinction. Estimates have placed the global okapi population at somewhere between 10,000–35,000
The IUCN says that poaching and habitat loss, as well as the disruptive presence of rebels, elephant poachers and illegal miners in the Ituri rainforest, are to blame.
In one incident in June 2012, rebels killed 14 okapis and six people, in an attack on a reserve in Epulu. The massacre was reportedly a response to a crackdown on poaching and illegal mining in the region.
“The okapi is revered in Congo as a national symbol – it even features on the Congolese franc banknotes”, said Dr Noëlle Kümpel, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group and manager of the Zoological Society of London’s okapi conservation project.
“Sadly, DRC has been caught up in civil conflict and ravaged by poverty for nearly two decades, leading to widespread degradation of okapi habitat and hunting for its meat and skin. Supporting government efforts to tackle the civil conflict and extreme poverty in the region are critical to securing its survival.”
Jane Smart, global director of the IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group, added that the latest version of the Red List featured some success stories. In particular, the leatherback turtle, two species of albatross and the island fox are now listed as having improved statuses.
However, she added, “The overall message remains bleak.” Of 71,576 species assessed, the IUCN found that 21,286 are threatened with extinction.
Smart said, “With each update, whilst we see some species improving in status, there is a significantly larger number of species appearing in the threatened categories. The world must urgently scale up efforts to avert this devastating trend.”
Like our Facebook Page
Strange Ways the Sporting World Impacts the Environment
The Future of Cryptocurrency is Eco-Friendlier than the Present
Why Bill Gates Is Wrong on the Climate Impact of Bitcoin
Everything You Need to Know to Create an Eco-Friendly Nursery
4 Environmental Benefits of Using A Buckwheat Pillow
Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of The Office Furniture!
7 Huge Advantages of Using Solar Power at Home
5 Important Changes to Become An Eco-Friendly Nicotine User
4 Great Ways to be a Committed Eco-Tourist While Flying
7 Basic Types of Forex Charts Ethical Investors Must Understand
How to Make Your Ecommerce Business More Eco-Friendly?
How Can Social Media Help In Promoting Sustainable Lifestyle?
Luxury Development for The Ultra-Rich Causing Climate Change Conundrum in Barbuda
How Does Bitcoin Mining Work and is it Eco-Friendly?
Is Gen Z Ahead of Millennials in Terms of Eco-Investing?
Four Reasons Why Buying Used Cars Is the Way to Go Green
There is no Planet B: The Growing Importance of ESG
Wonderful Environmental Monitoring Tips to Keep Indoor Air Clean
The Tremendous Benefits of Investing in Energy-Efficient Windows
4 Morning Productivity Tips for Green Entrepreneurs that Are Night Owls
- Features10 months ago
Eco-Friendly Interior Design Is Easier Than You Might Think
- Features7 months ago
Eco-Friendly Hacks To Create A Durable Shop For Your Home
- Features8 months ago
5 Simple Ways To Create A Greener And Healthier Home
- Environment11 months ago
The Benefits Of Sustainable Agriculture For Farmers