Beni the Okapi Makes First Appearance on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Savanna

We want you to get the most out of your ‘luxury villa’ stay in Solterra, Davenport (near Championsgate and just south of the Disney World Resort area). To help out, we have sourced the following blog post to keep you up to date with news from Walt Disney World Resort. Thanks to the guys over at Disney Parks for the original post...

Our dedicated team of animal care experts is starting the new year off on the right foot … or, more specifically, the right – and left – hoof with the introduction of Beni the okapi calf to the Pembe Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Guests watched with delight as Beni cautiously but curiously explored the new sights and smells of the savanna with his mom Olivia closely nudging him on from behind. Since his birth in July, Beni has grown to a height of four feet tall and weighs around 230 pounds. And while he still stays pretty close to mom, he is slowly becoming more independent and his endearing personality is starting to show as he matures.

We create magic at Disney and, to me, one of the most magical
sights is witnessing an animal step onto the savanna for the first time. It
inspires our guests to connect and care about animals they otherwise may never
see, and it’s a major accomplishment for Beni’s care team who have worked for
months to prepare him for this exciting moment.

Okapis are endangered in their home country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and they are very good at camouflaging themselves into the rainforest, so getting to see them roam the savanna here at Walt Disney World Resort is incredibly special. 

Beni is
the first calf of mom Olivia and dad Elombe, and his birth was part of the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan which ensures the
responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species in managed care.
Programs like these make it possible for people to experience this majestic
species first-hand at accredited institutions across the country, and we’re
elated to be one of them. Disney also has a long history of supporting
conservation organizations dedicated to protecting okapis and the forests they
call home. Funds from the Disney Conservation Fund have helped monitor wild
okapi populations, reduce deforestation, and support the well-being of local
communities who share the forest with this iconic species.  

Next time you’re at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, be sure to stop by Kidani Village and say hello to Beni and Olivia. Plus, you can experience the wonder of okapis from home by streaming the second season of “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” which released on Disney+ today. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how our animal care teams worked with Olivia during her pregnancy and helped her deliver a healthy calf. 

To discover more inspirational stories about all the animals in our care, follow Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment on Facebook and Dr. Mark on Instagram.  

That's all folks!

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