The southern ground hornbill is the largest species of hornbill bird and can be found naturally across the savannas of Africa. These birds are listed as vulnerable, according to the IUCN Red List, but studies done in South Africa suggest they could be in much worse trouble than scientists previously thought. Their habitat is being cleared for farmland and these birds are dying off.
I got to meet up with lead okapi keeper Megan Lumpkin at the Dallas Zoo last week and she told me all about the DZ’s leading okapi breeding program! She was so nice and welcoming and let me see the DZ’s new baby okapi and the process by which they weigh her every morning and I even got to meet their oldest okapi and give her a good ear scratching!
The second semester of my freshman year of college I was desperate to transfer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the social scene and I would do anything to get out of Texas. I had planned to go abroad for a year to Costa Rica to live at a research station in Monte Verde Cloud Forest. I was leaning away from studying medicine and changing my major to biology and journalism. I wanted to study animals and write about them! What kinds of animals? Well, I just wasn’t so sure yet.
It’s a zebra! No! It’s an antelope! No! It’s a giraffe! No! It’s an okapi!
There are not a lot of animals as strange as the okapi, with its black and white stripes, 12 inch long purple-prehensile tongue and its red goo it secretes from it’s skin.