If you have been following the zoo’s website or facebook page or even those of our friends at the Wildlife Conservation Network’s, you have seen the news about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the attacks on the Okapi Conservation Centre and the The Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).
These attacks on June 24th took the lives of 6 people and the rebel group completely destroyed and looted the program, killing 13 of the 14 captive managed Okapi’s at the Centre. By June 26th, the Congolese Army had moved in to secure the area and now the hard work of putting peoples lives back together and supporting these efforts begin. It is important to note that the attack on the Epulu Station was in retaliation for recent engagements by ICCN rangers that disrupted poaching and mining activities in the Southern part of the Reserve. The rebels want to be free to reopen the illegal gold mines and poach wildlife without interference. The rangers and conservation personnel who work in these regions literally put their lives on the line every day to protect wildlife.
On Sunday July 1, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Houston Zoo will join with other zoos and conservation organizations to raise relief funds for the ICCN’s recovery efforts. Learn more about illegal poaching and its impact on endangered species in Africa and around the world. Proceeds from the sale of elephant trunk prints, coloring books, paintings by the Houston Zoo’s okapis, and raffles at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for ‘day of’ behind the scenes okapi tours will benefit Okapi Crisis Relief. Donations may also be made on line at http://www.houstonzoo.org/okapicrisis/.
Want your very own Okapi painted painting? Then you can go to Ebay and bid now on your very own Okapi Kwame’s work of “art” at http://www.ebay.com/itm/261055676084?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1586.l2649#ht_630wt_1139
You can also join our partners at the Wildlife Conservation Network in support of this effort: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/355747/b9b6035211/1446536659/212ee14728/