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British RoyalsThe Sussexes

Okapi at London Zoo Named After Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle received an unusual honour when the London Zoo named an okapi after her.

Meghan the okapi was born on 9 December at the London Zoo. Her birth was filmed by zookeepers, and her mother’s name is Oni.

“We very pleased with how mother and baby are doing,” said zookeeper Gemma Metcalf in a statement. “Oni [the mother] is being very attentive, making sure she regularly licks her clean and keeping a watchful eye over Meghan as she sleeps.”

An okapi, which is also known as a forest giraffe or zebra giraffe, is native to the rainforests in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its legs are striped like a zebra’s and its body is normally a brown coat. Its closest relative is the giraffe, despite not having a long neck, and it stands 1.5 metres (or 4.9 feet) tall.

The Zoo released pictures of Meghan the okapi yesterday along with the announcement of her name.

“A new birth is always cause for celebration,” Metcalf continued, “but Meghan’s important arrival is also a great opportunity to draw attention to the okapi, which is an extremely endangered species.”

According to an estimate by researchers at the San Diego Zoo in California, there are 25,000 okapis left in the wild. Okapis are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

Meghan may be the only soon-to-be member – and current member – of the British Royal Family with an animal named after her that we know of. Queen Elizabeth II has many buildings, parks, awards, schools, and even food dishes named after her, but no animals.

The Belgian King Philippe has a species of wasp named after him, and another Belgian king, King Leopold III, allegedly had over 100 species of animals named after him.



About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.