Daily Distraction: Columbus Zoo welcomes baby giraffe, callously forgets to mention the okapi (again)

Andy Downing
adowning@columbusalive.com
The new female giraffe calf at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, if anyone cares

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium just announced the birth of a second Masai giraffe calf, and both mother and daughter are healthy and happy (see the newborn's photo above). 

OK, great. Everyone satisfied with the news? Now that we have that out of the way:Where is our okapi update?

We’ve been down this road before, with the zoobreaking “news” but omitting the most important information. One would think administrators would have corrected priorities by now, but alas.

For those sadly out of the loop, the zooannounced the birth of a majestic male okapi calf in May, a wondrous bit of news that has been followed by four months of analog silence.Alive hasn’t been emailed a single new photo or video since the initial news break, and no one from the zoo has filled us in on the new okapi's favorite foods or where he most likes to be scratched (our guess: on his cute little baby okapi belly). 

Yes, we understand that newborn okapis can’t regulate their own body temperatures, which means the youngster has been forced to live out his early months in a temperature-controlled, indoor environment. But that’s still no reason to cut off contact entirely. Heck,most of us have been relegated to our homes for a bulk of 2020. Six months into an unending pandemic and even our children are using Zoom; surely an animal as magical as the okapi can manage the same.

Which brings me to a final point: Does the baby okapi even have a name yet? We’re nearing the kiddo’s half-birthday. Are keepers still just calling him “fella”? What is that going to do to his sense of self as he gets older? And if he does have a name, thenwhy hasn’t it been more widely shared? What kind of example are we setting here? 

Anyway, congrats on the new giraffe, or whatever. Now get it together.