The San Antonio Zoo is excited to announce an amazing discovery by our Conservation and Research Department in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa while on expedition lead by Dr. Ima Uranokapi (pictured below) and zoo researchers.
Our Conservation and Research team was in the Congo working on conservation efforts with people indigenous to the area when they came upon cave drawings (picture below) of an animal not yet identified by modern academia.
Through subsequent meetings with the indigenous tribes in the area researchers learned of legends of a mystical animal which was a mix between a giraffe and a zebra that once roamed the jungle. It was widely believed that these animals had mythical powers. Dr. Uranokapi of the San Antonio Zoo’s Conservation & Research Department almost immediately began an expedition into the jungle. While working deep in the Congo with the Baka (Bacwa) Dr. Uranokapi discovered through unexposed film, a photograph thought to be taken in the late 1800’s by the Baka tribe utilizing a camera they had found in the wreckage of a World War 2 era plane. (The photo below shows a member of The Baka with the mythical animal)
In March of this year Dr. Uranokapi set up a web of camera traps in an attempt to catch a glimpse of this animal if it still existed. This method has been proven successful in another project the San Antonio Zoo operates in Tamaulipas, Mexico with wild cats such as jaguars and snipes. As evidenced in the photograph below we now know that we have identified a new species which had previously not been known to modern man. San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow stated “for a species as large as this to go scientifically unknown for so long is incredible and we are honored to have found it.”
The San Antonio Zoo will host a Facebook Live from the Congo Saturday at 11:00 U.S. Central Time with Dr. Uranokapi and zoo staff on the zoo’s Facebook page. Dr. Uranokapi stated “We are hopeful that this will be an opportunity for people to get a first glimpse of this amazing animal.”
The San Antonio Zoo is asking the public for help naming this incredible species by visiting http://bit.ly/2olIRpg