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World Okapi Day 2023

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The okapi live in the dense jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

The opaki is under threat

Although it is a respected cultural symbol of the DRC (have had protect status since 1933), the opaki is threatened by human activities: slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal gold mining, logging, encroachment from human settlement and bush-meat poaching.

Enter the Opaki Conservation Project

Enter the Opaki Conservation Project which works to protect the natural habitat of the opaki and indigenous Mbuti pygmies who lives in the Opaki Wildlife Reserve.  It also looks to promote the species around the world.

The reserve itself is a designated World Heritage Site.  It sits within the Ituri Forest, and it encompasses 13,700 square kilometres. As well as the opaki, it is home to animals such as forest elephants, chimpanzees, 13 species of primates, leopards, bongo antelopes and a huge variety of birds and insects. 

OpakiConservation undertakes wildlife protection, community assistance and conservation education. For instance, it has IUCN eco-guards to collect snares, evict miners, pursue and detain poachers, monitor agricultural expansion and biodiversity.  This is all aimed to protect, manage and secure the Opaki Wildlife Reserve  so that future generations can benefit from its vibrant forest ecosystem.

And it provides rations for forest patrols and support, and it helps educate communiteis so that they are aware of the Reserve's regulations and protects them, too.  The opaki is an important symbol of their national heritage. 

World Opaki Day’s aims

World Opaki Day on 18 October 2023 celebrates the opaki – it raises awareness of it as many people have never heard of an opaki.   You can find out more about the opaki here. 

And crucially, the opaki acts as a flagship species to protect the forest ecosystem where it resides.   

There are activities around the villages in the reserve and they are combined to educate local communities and protect the opaki.

Visit the OpakiConservation's You Tube Channel here

Things we can do on World Okapi Day:

1.  Follow the day on social media and tell people about okapis.  Here are the hashtags and links:

Facebook: @okapiconservationproject

Instagram: @okapiconservation

Twitter: @okapiproject

Hashtags: #WorldOkapiDay #WOD2023 #OkapiConservation #JourneeMondialedelOkapi

2.   Recycle your own mobile phone.  Did you know that a cell/mobile phones have coltan?  It’s a mineral mined in the DRC forests, so if you recycle your phone it means less mining in the forest.

3.   Put okapi photos on social media, using the hashtags hashtags #OkapiConservation and #WorldOkapiDay

4.  You could also donate to the Okapi Conservation Project – all proceeds go to help protect okapi and its habitat.

5.  Watch okapi videos!   

Visit the Okapi Conservation Project here - you can read their latest update from the field (Sept 2023) here



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