PHOTOS: Baby Okapi Elijah Makes His Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Named After 50-Year Cast Member

Brit Tuttle

PHOTOS: Baby Okapi Elijah Makes His Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Named After 50-Year Cast Member

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating the debut of another animal today, as baby okapi Elijah can now be seen at the park.

Baby Okapi Elijah Debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Baby okapi Elijah with his mom at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The announcement of Elijah’s debut was shared on the official Instagram account of Dr. Mark Penning, vice president of Disney’s Animals, Science & Environment. This marks the 14th birth of this endangered species at Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can now find him with his mom onstage on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.

Cast Member Elijah, who the baby okapi was named after

According to the post, Elijah was born in October 2023. He was named after “a special 50-year Cast Member […] who plays a critical role in maintaining the animal habitats” at the park. Elijah first joined the company at Magic Kingdom in June 1973, and transferred to the horticulture department at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the park opened in 1998.

As this Cast Member, also named Elijah, is so beloved, the Animals, Science & Environment team named the okapi after him.

Another baby okapi, Beni, was introduced to the Pembe Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge around this time last year. Just last week, Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated the birth of a set of baby Cotton-Top Tamarin monkey triplets.

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