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Okapi - Term Paper Example

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THE OKAPI I am a solitary mammal found only in the upper Congo River Basin in Central Africa and I prefer altitudes of 500 to 1000 m. I am of medium size, extremely shy and I have an average body length of 2.5m and the average height at the shoulder is 1.5m and it is sloped with the forequarters much higher than my rear…
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Download file to see previous pages My skin is also oily to make the rain water drain off and keep me dry on a rainy season. I do resemble my relative the Giraffe except for the fact that I have a relatively shorter neck than the giraffe but it is long enough to enable me reach leaves that are high in trees and also helps me defend myself and also my territory and my head is also relatively lighter with a black muzzle supported by a thick neck. I have a very long (approximately 35 centimeters) flexible blue tongue that I use to stripe buds and leaves from trees. It is also long enough for me to wash my eyes and clean my ears inside out. I am a herbivore. The amazing thing about me is that I can eat a variety of plants that other animals and even human consider poisonous! Such as fungi and other plant materials. My main predator is the leopard. My ankles are white with dark spots on each of my hoofs and a thick skin that helps protect my legs from injury. Although I do travel by myself within my home range, I do have ways of communicating with the others whose ranges overlap mine; this is through a scent gland on either of my foot that leaves behind a sticky tar-like substance wherever I walk thus marking my territory. MY young ones are adapted in such a way that they defecate between four and eight weeks of age, this adaptation helps my young ones grow and gain strength before predators sniff them out. My sharp sense of smell helps me locate breeding partners. The minerals that my body needs I normally obtain them from eating the clay from along the river banks. My male counterpart has horns which are short and skin covered so that he won’t get tangled in the forest branches. I normally travel miles in search of food and I can consume 40 to 65 pounds of food. I do give birth to one calf and my gestation period can last up to a period of 16 months and am very protective of my young ones which are weaned at around 6months but may continue suckling for more than a year. My young ones have short fringe hair along the spine at birth which disappears when it is one year old. The main threat to my existence is habitat loss due to deforestation. The leopard also threatens my existence because it positions itself from above the ground and hence able to survey the surrounding area for potential prey and also is able to ambush it from above, these threats makes me to be classified as an animal that is under that is threatened with extinction. The human hunters are also a threat since they hunt me for game meat and for my thick hide but the efforts that have been in place by the government of Zaire to seclude the area from hunting activities has done great in protecting me from human infringement. The other interesting thing about me is that I only vocalize when I am ready to breed and with my solitary lifestyle I don’t normally associate with other animals except with my calf that is when I have one. The fact that I inhabit a secluded section of the mountain forest means that I surprisingly have very few predators particularly in comparison other animals. Since I am a ruminant I do swallow food without chewing and then chew the curd afterwards. My shy and secluded nature is an adaptation since it helps me hide myself from the human hunters. The human efforts to have some of my family members captured and put in captivity is a measure aimed at ensuring that our population is protected from extinction and that our ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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