Oakley the Okapi

I’m Oakley the Okapi and I live in a zoo. My name sounds funny doesn’t it?! It’s sometimes hard to say but I think it’s pretty cool. Most people don’t know what I am when they come to visit the zoo, they point and say; ‘look it’s a Giraffe’ and some say that I look like a horse or a Zebra because of my stripes. 

My Mummy and the sign say that I am an Okapi. We come from the continent Africa and live mostly by ourselves in dense forests. 

I find it funny when people try to look for my Mummy and I through the trees, it’s like they cannot wait to see what we look like! I love how I look, I have a brownish-red coloured coat, big floppy ears, white socks and a striped behind! 

My Mummy says she came to live here a few years ago because our forests were not safe for us to live in anymore. Mummy loves to stay deep within the trees and rarely comes out into the open because she loves the safety and the shade the trees give her. 

I also love the trees and hiding, people say that it is hard to spot me because I am almost camouflaged, which means I can hide really easily! I like to trot around and peek at people from behind the trees. I find them all so fascinating but my favourite person that comes to visit me is a little girl named Tilly. 

Tilly visits me most weekends and during the school holidays because her mother works at the zoo. Tilly’s mother’s job is to look after my Mummy and I, she makes sure our home is safe, she brings me things for me to play with and always knows what I love to eat! 

It makes me happy when I see Tilly, she is so little with reddish brown hair just like me and has THE biggest smile. I remember the first time I saw Tilly, she came with her mother to my home and sat and listened to her mother teach her all about Okapi’s and my mother and I. 

Tilly’s mother really cares about us and knows that what they do here in the zoo helps more of us Okapi’s that are out there in the wild, she wants to protect us and make sure we have the best life possible.

When I saw the love and interest in Tilly’s eyes whilst she listened to her mother teach her about us, I just knew from that day that Tilly and I would be best friends forever. 

Tilly visited me today and we played hide and seek which is my favourite! Tilly is always quick to spot me! I try to hide but I sometimes poke my head out from behind the trees because I am too excited, my ears are so big and waggly they sometimes give me away!

Now that I am a little bigger and older, I can run around on my own (of course my Mummy is always in sight), Tilly says that she can tell that I am growing bigger and getting stronger as I’m not so wobbly on my feet anymore. She also says I’m very cute! 

To say goodbye, Tilly pats me on the nose and I give her a big slobbery lick on her face with my long tongue, Tilly screams with laughter and waves goodbye. I feel sad when it’s time for Tilly to say goodbye to me but I know she will come back the next day, and that we will have so much fun when she does.

Knowing this and remembering the fun we have together helps me get ready for sleep when nighttime comes. Tonight, Mummy nudges me close to her and I feel her heartbeat and her warmth which makes me feel safe and so very sleepy. I yawn, feeling my body relax more into my mother and my eyes soon start to close.

I smile thinking about the adventures that I will have tomorrow, like who I will see and meet, what games I will play and what yummy food I will get to try. I know I must sleep now so I can wake in the morning feeling refreshed and ready for a fun and happy day.  

I snuggle in some more, Mummy says ‘goodnight my sweet, sweet, little Oakley, sweet dreams my love.’ I close my eyes and fall into a deep and safe slumber, ready for exciting new adventures tomorrow. 

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