A rare giraffe zebra hybrid has been born at Chester Zoo, and cameras have captured the adorable new calf venturing outside for the very first time.
Conservationists at the UK’s biggest charity zoo say they are “celebrating” the arrival of a new Okapi calf – which is a “highly endangered” rare animal, also known as the forest giraffe – named Arabi, who was born to mum K’tusha and dad Stomp a couple of months back on 12 May.
Only scientifically discovered in 1901, and often referred to as the ‘forest giraffe’ because the species is only living relative of the long-necked animal, okapis are known for the elusive nature, and live in the dense rainforests of their native Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in central Africa – where it’s estimated that as few as 10,000 could remain.
The species is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning it faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
Zookeepers say they chose to name the newborn Arabi after a village located in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the DRC.
Chester Zoo and its partners in the DRC have been working hard to support the last remaining populations of okapi.
Commercial logging, open-cast mining, agriculture, and human settlement has resulted in the loss of the okapi’s habitat in the wild, which conservationists say can limit their access to food and water sources.
The rare animals are sadly also hunted for their meat, while their skins are highly valued on the illegal wildlife trade.
Of the 14 okapi living in conservation zoos in the UK, six are being cared for by experts at Chester Zoo as part of the endangered species breeding programme.
Arabi’s arrival is a “vital” part of the global population, zookeepers say.
Since her arrival into the world, Arabi has since been snuggled up in a nest in a behind-the-scenes area at Chester Zoo but now, at just six-weeks-old, the leggy newcomer has decided to kick up her heels and take her first steps following some gentle encouragement from her mum – with the calf’s first steps being captured on camera and shared on social media.
“Since being born just six weeks ago, Arabi has been bonding closely with mum K’tusha while snuggled away in her nest,” explained Hannah Owens – an okapi keeper at Chester Zoo.
“Mum has been doing a fantastic job of feeding and nurturing her calf every day, and now that she has a little more confidence, Arabi decided it was time to explore the outside world.
“It didn’t take long before she was confidently stretching her legs in the sunshine.”
Giving a little more insight into just how important Arabi’s birth is to her species, Hannah continued: “Okapis are one of the least known and understood species on the planet, so every birth is incredibly special indeed.
“This energetic little calf is already showing lots of personality.
“It’s going to be a real privilege to watch her grow and become a vital part of the global population of her species.”
Featured Image – Chester Zoo
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Scott McTominay jokes he’s ‘fuming’ he didn’t score a hat-trick against Chelsea as he reflects on Man United’s mentality
Scott McTominay has joked he’s “fuming” with himself after failing to score a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday nightand shed some light on the mentality around Old Trafford.
McTominay starred in the Red Devils’ win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side on a cold night at home, managing to bag a brace with a goal in the first and second half to get his squad over the line, but he himself said he could have had more.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, the 26-year-old said he and the squad knew they needed to drum up a reaction after the Newcastle disappointment, adding that contributing more goals is something he wants to keep working on and insisting that plenty of people back him to do so.
Confessing that his mum, dad and grandad have all been encouraging him to “get in the box” and that he just needs to “believe in [him]self and go for it”, the Scotsman did go on to quip he was “fuming” to not grab a third as he shook his head went on to shake and reveal a wry smile.
Commentator and presenter Stewart Gardner went on to list McTominay’s impressive stats this season, having now scored 14 goals in his last 33 appearances for club and country. A seriously good rate from a midfielder typically entrusted to help link play and break things up in the middle of the park.
Now boasting half a dozen goals and an assist across all competitions so far this campaign, he sits as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League with five finishes to his name — with only Bruno Fernandes having contributed more (five goals and five assists) — he’s genuinely become one of Man United’s main goal threats.
While he recently rubbished talk that he played as a striker regularly coming up through the youth academy, simply having been deployed for the odd game in reality, he has always had a shot on him and it isn’t the first time he’s bagged a winner or a big goal for the Reds. This wasn’t a bad one either:
Chatting with the pundits on Amazon Prime Sport, he reiterated that he could have had “one or two more” on another night and agreed that the performance against Newcastle in the previous fixture was “pretty abysmal”, holding his hands up to admit that it was “no way near good enough”.
Reflecting on the later chance he had to seal the hat-trick towards the end of the game, he said he simply needed to “calm down on the last one”.
As for the mentality to get the result during a difficult period where the club remained under a lot of scrutiny from pundits and fans alike, McTominay went on to say that the manager is responsible for the way they played and some “lighter training sessions to keep energy levels up” definitely helped.
Regardless, he was sure to not get ahead of himself and assured ten Hag‘s team were still taking things a game at a time. You can watch the full highlights from Manchester United vs Chelsea down below: