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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Get special access to the Museum's vast collections on these exclusive tours! 
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Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Mammalogy Contacts

Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals

Jim Dines, Ph.D.
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369



Okapia johnstoni (Sclater, 1901)

Okapi diorama in the African mammal hall


 Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of the Congo


 The San Diego Zoological Society

Background artist:

 Clark Provins

Also present:

 Rhinoceros Viper (Bitis nasicornis),
African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus),
Goliath beetle (Goliathus orientalis)

Okapis are the only living relatives of the giraffes. Despite their large size, they weren’t discovered until 1901. They have foot-long blue tongues that they use to strip leaves and buds from trees and also to clean their eyelids and ears!

Okapis are mostly nocturnal and solitary, coming together only to breed.

Biological Information

Range map for the Okapi


Congo River Basin


Low dense undergrowth in equatorial rain forest


Protected since 1933 but vulnerable


Shade-loving plants, also fruits, ferns and fungi

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for okapi.