PHOTOS: Rare okapi calf born at Lowry Park Zoo

Last Updated: Thursday, October 08, 2015, 12:03 PM EDT

The birth announcements have arrived!

Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has released photos of its newest addition- a rare okapi calf, a forest giraffe native to Central Africa.

The yet-to-be-named male calf was born to mom “Betty” on September 24, weighing in at 42 pounds.

The now 2-week-old calf was able to stand within hours of birth, and spends his days nursing and “nesting” inside the barn.

Okapis have reddish-brown, velvet-like coats with horizontal zebra-like striping on their hindquarters and legs. The unique color pattern allows them to disappear into dense vegetation in the forests where they live.

The body shape is similar to that of the giraffe, but okapis have much shorter necks. These unusual animals also have large upright ears with a keen sense of hearing, and long, dark prehensile tongues that they use to pluck vegetation from trees and shrubs.

Just discovered in the 20th century, these large hoofed mammals are found in the rain forests of northern, central and eastern regions of the DRC. The species is a shy and reclusive forest dweller and is the only living relative of the giraffe. The wild population is in significant decline (50 percent in the last two decades) with continued loss of habitat and political unrest in their native region.

The okapi birth at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is only the third okapi calf born in the U.S. in 2015.