Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 15th, 2009
[First published November 16, 2007; updated September 15, 2009.]
The story of the okapi (Okapia johnstoni), from its 1900-1901 discovery to the June 9, 2006 announcement of its rediscovery in the Congo’s Virunga National Park, has made this prehistoric relative of the giraffe one of the first “darlings of cryptozoology.”
The International Society of Cryptozoology used an okapi as their logo (above), as have others (below).
The first illustrations that were published upon their discovery, show the okapis as truly dynamic animals (below).
Old drawings then took on a static look. Some made the link between the giraffe and okapi (below), as in this early turn of the 20th century drawing, in which the text noted that the okapi “gives a good idea of what the giraffe’s ancestors were like.”
As to replicas, both companies, Safari and Schleich, do good jobs with their models.
The Safari Okapi (above).
Two views of the Schleich Okapi (above and below).
The following replica okapi is made by an unknown company but probably is Playvision or AAA from China. The search goes on to discovery one for the museum collection. Let me know if you find one.
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Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.