Wee Okapi: Aww Over Amaranta at Safari Park

The little calf is charming visitors three mornings a week in the African Woods.

YOUR NEW FAVORITE FURRY ONE: Books and posters and videos and stories told us much of the animal world when we were youngsters. We gazed upon illustrations of fish and mammals and birds and asked our teachers and parents questions -- What's the tallest of the small cats? How high can an eagle fly? -- and we gazed upon the pictures further. And, very often, we lived with beasties, dogs and cats and parakeets and geckos. And while our animal knowledge and love may be deep by the time we reach adulthood, deep and true and, if not complete, then pretty dang vast, we can still come upon animals that seem a bit unfamiliar to us, even after all of the gazing at picture books we did. 

MEET THE OKAPI: This is an animal you've surely heard about. You've seen photographs, now and then, and maybe even caught the mammal on television as he employed his impressive prehensile tongue to reach some leaves. But actually beholding an okapi in-person -- or in-okapi -- is something strange and wonderful. It's an animal that seems summon thoughts of several other animals at once: the stripes of a zebra are found on the okapi's hindquarters and his noggin, and tongue, are very giraffe-like. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park goes into this phenomenon a bit on the okapi site, but you can see the animal's astonishing beauty for yourself, with your own marveling eyes at the vast animal preserve. And if you want to see a baby okapi -- cue the cuteness -- be at the park on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. Make for the African Woods and coo over...

AMARANTA: This okapi calf isn't too wee -- he's a sturdy young lad -- but his day of birth wasn't all that long ago (Jan. 18, to be specific). He's about a hundred pounds, or was the day before Valentine's Day (growing children grow, so he could be slightly heftier than that), and "strutting" is his manner of walking, or at least according to a charming post on the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Facebook page. To see a baby mammal that looks like a few different animals strutting about, a sight we should all see outside of a picture book or educational video, make for the Escondido preserve.

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