Animal Kingdom's baby okapi, named Elijah. Copyright Disney.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Baby Okapi

A baby okapi recently joined the Animal Kingdom herd. Elijah was born last October, weighing in at 46 pounds. He was the first okapi birth in the park since 2012. He’s grown since his birthday. Today he weighs 165 pounds.

You might think Elijah resembles a zebra, but partakers of Kilimanjaro Safaris know that okapis are not related to zebras. Instead, they are the only living relative of the giraffe.

Animal Kingdom baby okapi. Copyright Disney.

Elijah was named in honor of a 50-year Cast Member. That Elijah joined the Magic Kingdom cast in June 1973. He transferred to Animal Kingdom when it opened in 1998. He’s part of the horticulture team and is responsible for maintaining animal habitats in the park.

Animal Kingdom's 50-year Cast Member, Elijah. Copyright Disney.
Elijah is a 50-year Cast Member. Copyright Disney.

“He creates environments that help ensure safety and promote enrichment for our animals at Walt Disney World. His passion and dedication to his role have made him a cherished cast member, and what better way to honor him than to name a rare okapi after him?”

Disney Parks Blog
Baby and mom okapis in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Copyright Disney.
Copyright Disney

Guests wishing to see this beautiful baby will find him and his momma on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. I can’t recommend this attraction enough. Shady trails, beautiful animals, and low crowds. It’s the best of Animal Kingdom!

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan played a big part in Elijah’s birth. They ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species and those species facing habitat loss. Visit to learn more about Animal Kingdom’s okapis.

Josh is a web designer and developer who enjoys writing about all things Disney and Universal. In a previous life, he performed in big bands, orchestras, and everything in between as a professional trombonist.