The IUCN has just listed the okapi as Endangered, only one step away from the highest risk of extinction, Critically Endangered.
The animal wasn’t recognized by the western scientific establishment until brought to their attention by Sir Harry Johnston in 1901. I wrote about how the okapi got its (Western) name in Anatomy of a Beast:
Sir Harry Johnston…made a career in Africa during the reign of Queen Victoria. In his Book of Great Jungles, biologist and nature writer Ivan Sanderson devoted several pages to Sir Harry whom he viewed as the forerunner of a new guard of explorer: the naturalist. “Johnston went to ‘the dark continent’ on a shooting trip in 1882,” Sanderson wrote, “and stayed simply because he wanted to paint pictures and see the country, not explore for new routes or opportunities for trade.”
Against a legion of naysayers, Johnston became the first Westerner to…
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