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Basel zoo celebrates a rare birth

This Okapi in Britain is believed to be the oldest alive Keystone

Basel zoo is celebrating a rare event: the birth of an Okapi. These rare antelopes are bred almost exclusively in captivity, and are otherwise only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This content was published on July 12, 2000 - 12:43

The birth of Xina, as the female Okapi has been named, was the second in Basel and only the sixth in European zoos this year. One has since died.

Officials in Basel are describing the birth as a further success in the zoo's breeding programme. Twenty-one Okapis have been born in Basel since 1960.

There are only 120 Okapis in captivity in the world - more than half of them in the United States. It is impossible to count the number roaming free in Congo, but officials in Basel said their future was in doubt because of the ongoing civil war.

The Okapi is a large antelope, with a head resembling that of a giraffe, and a body similar to a zebra's. It has a dark chestnut coat, and stripes on the hindquarters and upper legs.

swissinfo with agencies

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