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Calf of Giraffe Relative Born at San Diego Zoo
Credit: Ken Bohn, Sand Diego Zoo

Looking a lot like a horse, but with stripes similar to a zebra, the faces of an okapi calf and her mother show signs of their real relative - the giraffe.

The mother, Makini, gave birth on Sept. 4, 2011, to the 37th okapi born at the Safari Park and the first female born in 11 years. Okapis are the only living relative of the giraffe and have similar large, upright ears and a prehensile tongue that helps them strip leaves from trees in their native habitat of the Ituri Forest in Central Africa.

Animal care staff reports that the calf, which has not been named yet, is adventurous, independent and self-assured. She is tolerant and enjoys petting from her keepers. Like her mother, she can often be seeing sticking out her tongue.

Calves look just like adults except for a short fringe of hair along their spine, which will disappear about a year after birth. Guests at the Safari Park can see this calf, and other okapis, in the African Woods area on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 9 a.m and noon.