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#8 Okapi


These are the giraffe's nearest relative. There are in fact only 2 genuses (or genera both are apparently proper for the plural of genus) in their family left. The Okapi live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One of the sites I saw when researching mentioned they might be in Uganda as well, but none of the maps I saw showed their range going that far. They are about 5 feet tall and the shoulder, and have amazing purple-ish foot long tongues! They apparently run 37mph, and can live 20-30 years old. I didn't see if that was in the wild as well as in captivity. Many animals tend to live longer in captivity (though not all, like Orca for instance which lives much longer in the wild) because they get veterinary care and don't have predators. So my guess would be that in the wild they usually do not make it to the 30 year range. They are very shy and live in forests, able to hide in spite of their size. It means they were not discovered until 1901. Unfortunately they are losing their forests. Their other biggest threat is being hunted for bushmeat.

Got to see the in-laws today. My sister-in-law has a very enthusiastic fun dog, a little over a year old. My in-laws have a puppy that is much calmer than I'm used to in puppies. We picked some blackberries. Their farm is ringed with them. I was telling my sister-in-law that if we ever end up with a bit of property like I dream of, I absolutely will not try to keep all the blackberries away. For one thing, lots of wildlife likes to make use of blackberries. Yes, they are invasive, but they have been here for so long now that animals have begun to depend on them even. They can also be helpful for blocking your property from roads or people "accidentally" ending up on your land and possibly shooting animals that you don't mind making your place their home. People are less likely to work their way through a hedge of blackberries than local animals are. Most of this dream home I would keep blackberry free. Unlike the neighbour of my in-law's farm when he was alive. He allowed the blackberries to grow over his two storey home, completely covering it. He had cut tunnels through the berries and when you drove by you couldn't really tell there was a home there. The fire department finally came and told him they needed to be able to at least see his home. He has since died, and the home is falling apart. Every time I drive past it I think I need to get a picture of it before it collapses, but I so rarely touch my cameras anymore. I miss them, but don't really have time for photography and my back just cannot handle my heavy digital camera. My camera is nice, but about 14-15 years old now, which is rather old for a digital. I still love it, athough my antique film cameras certainly have more personality.

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