DRC: The Apostolic Voyage and the Okapi.

DRC: The Apostolic Voyage and the Okapi.

On his 40th Apostolic Voyage, Pope Francis will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, from 31 January 31 to 3 February.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.

The motto of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo is, All reconciled in Jesus Christ. The DRC’s logo features symbols of the nation and an image of the Pope giving his blessing.

The Okapi is found only in the DRC

Also depicted in the logo (bottom right) is the Okapi. It is an animal only found in the DRC, living in the wild and representing the richness of Congolese fauna. Sometimes described as the “forest giraffe,” the Okapi is one of the oldest mammals on Earth and only came to the attention of scientists in the early 20th century. It was, however, well-known and part of the culture of the indigenous people – natives of the Ituri Rainforest in the DRC.

The Okapi

The Okapi

nationalgeographic.com explains that an okapi looks like a cross between a deer and a zebra. Nevertheless, it’s the giraffe’s only living relative. Like its giraffe cousin, the okapi can strip leaves from branches with its tongue. It has thick, oily fur that enables it to stay dry in the rainforest.

The okapi’s existence is under threat from the impact of human activities.

(A version of this article first appeared on Vatican News in March 2022)



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