Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mythical Unicorn Photos From African, Natural Phenomena

Unicorn from african pictures pics photos images galleryAn African animal so rarely seen it was once believed to be a mythical unicorn has been caught on camera in the wild for the first time. The okapi, a deer-like creature with the long blue tongue of a giraffe and the rear of a zebra, was only discovered at the beginning of the 20th century when a British explorer sent a skin home to London.

Before this the animal had only been glimpsed in passing with the characteristic small bump in the corner of its head leading to claims that it could have been the unicorn written about in fantasy story books.

Even in the modern age humans had until now only fleetingly seen the creature's huge ears and stripey hind legs in the jungles of Africa.

The forest-dwelling mammal was not seen in the wild for 50 years ago and there were fears it had died out in the wake of the civil war in the Democratic of Congo.

However, zoologists did not give up hope. In 2006 tracks were found in the Virunga National Park and camera traps were put down by the Zoological Society of London in the hope of capturing the wild animal on film.

Now, the last few wild okapis have been captured on film.

Because the zebra stripes on the animal's behind are unique like a fingerprint, researchers have been able to identify different animals and survey a previously unknown population.

Dr Noelle Kumpel, ZSL's Bushmeat and Forests Conservation Programme Manager, was relieved to see the species has survived despite a decade of civil conflict.

Source : The telegraph