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Okapi pregnant with ‘feisty’ calf has ultrasound at London Zoo

A strong heartbeat was detected by zookeepers when a pregnant okapi had an ultrasound.

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Oni, an okapi, has an ultrasound at London Zoo (ZSL London Zoo/PA)

Oni, an okapi, has an ultrasound at London Zoo (ZSL London Zoo/PA)

Oni, an okapi, has an ultrasound at London Zoo (ZSL London Zoo/PA)

Vets at London Zoo have described a kicking foetus as “feisty” after monitoring a pregnant okapi with an ultrasound.

Six-year-old Oni has had her six-month scan after zookeepers suspected she was pregnant last August.

Tai Strike, a vet at the zoo, said: “Oni is heading into her second trimester and I’m pleased to say both mother and baby are doing very well.

“We can now clearly see the curve of a spine and a strong heartbeat, which means we hope to hear the pitter-patter of tiny hooves sometime between August and November this year.”

Okapi Ultrasound
Oni had a six-month scan (ZSL London Zoo)

“Oni’s keepers practise target training with her every day – presenting her with a small, handheld wooden target that she can touch with her tongue in order to get a small reward – this allows them to calmly encourage her into the right position for the ultrasound,” Ms Strike said.

“She’s totally nonplussed when we arrive and get out the kit – she’s actually a big fan of the ultrasound gel, which is clearly very tasty as she loves trying to lick it off.

“The baby is approximately 20cm long right now, certainly big enough to have given me a proper kick while we were scanning. He or she is definitely going to be feisty.”

This is the second pregnancy for Oni, who gave birth to her first calf, named Meghan, in 2017.

PA