Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
The striped Okapi is a rare hybrid – described as half zebra and half giraffe – found in the wild only in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth. Most people have never seen or heard of this mythical creature, but CNN reports that it is iconic for this small nation — like the giant panda is to China or the kangaroo is to Australia. Its image can be found on cigarette packages, stamps, water bottles, and even on the country’s paper currency. But now it is highly endangered — there are only 10,000 remaining in the wild, a 50% reduction in the last 25 years. CNN in an in-depth story explains the many pressures on the species.
A series of dictators have seen vast misuse of the Congo’s natural resources – illegal gold and diamond mines abound.
And the recent democratically held elections there were marred by fraud.
The Okapi are the passion of an American scientist named John Lukas, who has made saving it his life’s mission, according to CNN. Lukas used technology from NASA that helped amplify the sounds made by the Okapi to prove they communicate via infrasonic noises that are “quite dinosaur-like.”
There are some signs that after a peaceful transfer of power to the former President’s “friendly opposition leader” (whose election seems to have been rigged), the rebel fighters will lay down their arms, and that will provide some respite from violence for the Okapi. Meanwhile, Lukas is hoping to expand his project to Maiko National Park to the south, “It’s a spectacular place with bongo antelope, okapis and gorillas,” he told CNN. “Nobody can go there, it needs our help. I don’t have much time left, so I’m going to spend every moment making a difference.”
Why This Matters: Okapi have been preserved for some time in zoos around the world, but the numbers of those bred in captivity are dwindling — a baby recently died in a Florida zoo. Congo could be a place with vibrant ecotourism, like its neighbor Rwanda, but it would have to get Ebola and its violence in the rural areas under control.According to CNN, a “safari” to see a mountain gorilla in Rwanda costs $1,500, and tourism accounts for 13% of the country’s GDP, which has provided Rwandans an economic incentive to support conservation. But right now Congo’s parks, like Maiko and Virunga, are too dangerous for tourism. Hopefully, the new government will be able to overcome both Ebola and civil unrest and save their valuable endangered Mountain Gorillas and Okapis.
This week, just in time for Thanksgiving, we talk with Adam Kolton, the Executive Director of the Alaska Wilderness League about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic Indigenous Communities, and conserving Alaskan wilderness. Watch the entire interview. Here are a few highlights: On the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: “This is the area where hundreds of […]
This week we had the pleasure of sitting with Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, a title he’s held since October 2019. We asked the minister about how Indonesia is balancing the precarious equation of conserving its rich biodiversity while addressing the duel climate and COVID crises. Now that […]
Sure he may perennially be one of People Magazine’s sexiest men alive (well Michael B. Jordon won this year), but now HGTV’s Jonathan Scott is on a real “Power Trip.” On Monday he premiered on PBS a new documentary he wrote and directed about how solar energy development is being stifled by what he calls […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.