Monday, September 10, 2012


BBC News - Okapis and conservationists killed by DRC rebels

The temple of the Okapi's dates from 1861. The Antwerp Zoo was the first zoo in the world to keep Okapi's (first one arrived in 1919
Link Courtesy of Richard Reynolds


Anonymous said...

Wade: Antwerp Zoo had a special advantage when it came to the acquisition of okapis since Congo-Zaire was a Belgian possession, and at first all zoos interested in acquiring them had to go to the Royal Antwerp Zoological Society, which operated a capture station at Epulu, and had a monopoly on the okapi trade. In fact I think they had an American anthropologist establish Epulu for them. I've never heard of any okapi being captured anywhere else and sent to a zoo. It's ironic considering that the Governor of Uganda is credited with the Western discovery of the species, and he probably didn't know that they lived in Uganda as well. I don't think that any animals survived at Antwerp Zoo during WWII, and then the British were criticised for using the zoo for German POWs. It was referred to as the "great zoo", by the British who made use of the facility. Maybe the Germans saved some of the animals by shipping them to German zoos? By the way Bernard Heuvelmans also wrote a book on sea serpents. I learned recently that something which I thought was maybe somebody's idea of a joke is actually true, that there are killer sperm cells, which cannot fertilize an egg, and only exist to hunt and kill foreign sperm cells, like an antibody of sorts. There are actually several different kinds of sperm cells. These ones use the enzyme which a sperm cell would normally use to dissolve through the egg membrane to achieve fertilization to dissolve the heads of rival sperm cells and destroy them, which is to say sperm produced by another individual, a sexual rival. I think this goes to show two things. First of all Darwin was right about everything (as if more proof were needed), and monogamy is unnatural in humans. I guess it would make sense that our most recent common ancestor, or shared ancestor, with the chimpanzee probably lived like the chimpanzee, without any sort of pair bonding (unlike gorillas), and so a female could be inseminated by two or more individuals within a short period of time, as with Pygmy chimpanzees. Human beings have been described as the "Third Chimpanzee", or the third species of chimpanzee, and I guess that's what we really are, chimpanzees with atomic bombs. My uncle in Cleveland used to say "We're just apes wearing clothes." For most of the time which physically modern humans have existed there was no language, and they must have lived and behaved like any other animals. Sincerely Paul

Anonymous said...

Wade: I was just checking and I see that Antwerp is in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. The Dutch speakers are the majority in Belgium and occupy the northern part of the country, but besides the French speaking community there is a significant German speaking population in Belgium. I suspect the royal family is German. That reminds me: more VIIs hit Antwerp than hit Britain during WWII. I used to work with an old Belgian guy who was a Stalinist. He claimed that the last colonial governor of the Belgian Congo was his first cousin and he said that there were Dutch speaking Belgians living in the Congo. He also told me that he worked for the Mutual Of Omaha Insurance company, and he said that experience turned him into a communist. He was mad as hell because his brother was working for the Reagan administration. Anyway Antwerp Zoo has continued its' historic association with the okapi. They still keep the studbook and they head some other important thing in connection with okapis. I can't remember what that is. Maybe the EEP? Did I ever send you this link for the Al Bustan Zoo in Sharjah which has okapis and a king cheetah? Take care. Sincerely Paul