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Vandegrift Voice

Saving the okapis

Elena Aventa, Staff Reporter

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Okapis were first discovered in the 1920’s. Now, less than 100 years later, they are one of  many species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s endangered species list. According to the IUCN’s estimates, there are only anywhere from 10,000 to 35,000 okapis left in the wild. Senior Katiana Battiste learned about this and decided to start a fundraiser to assist the conservation project.

 

“We started this over the summer, so it’s pretty new,” Battiste said. “We’ve got some money raised already, around $500. My sister and I are the main ones who do it, and my mom helps a lot. We’re trying to spread awareness and get it out there that okapis are endangered.”

 

Okapis typically live between 20 and 30 years, and they can weigh anywhere from 440 to 770 pounds. The Dallas Zoo is where the Okapi Conservation Project takes place, and this is where Battiste is donating the money she raises.

 

“We created this website on spreadshirt and it’s called okapi fundraiser, and we have our own designs that you can buy,” Battiste said. “We have different things like shirts and mugs, and all the profits go to the okapi conservation project.”

 

Battiste and her sister first saw okapis on a national geographic show, and they decided to try to get the word out because no one really knows about okapis. To promote the project, Battiste and her sister use their social media.

 

“We update our social media, on the days leading up to Okapi Day, which was October 18th, we would post something,” Battiste said. “We try to balance it out by just doing a little bit at a time.”

 

Students can see their work at www.okapifundraiser.com

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Saving the okapis