You can depend on the Greensboro Science Center for uplifting news.

Three new guests, Holly, Ralph and Bakari, have arrived at the Greensboro Science Center and, quite naturally, are in quarantine, which is the way of the world these days.

However, their quarantine has nothing to do with the pandemic. Holly is a 3-year-old female pygmy hippo from Zoo Tampa.  Ralph is an 8-year-old male pygmy hippo from Zoo Miami and Bakari is a 14-year-old male okapi from the Disney Animal Kingdom. Pygmy hippos seem pretty self explanatory, but not okapis.  Because okapis have white and black striped hindquarters some people assume they are related to zebras, but actually they are the only living relative of giraffes.  Okapis are native to Central Africa and it is estimated that there are about 25,000 in the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but nobody is really certain because they are so difficult to spot in the wild.  Okapis have big ears and make good use of them, which means they hear humans a long way off and they don’t hang around to say hello.

All new animals at a facility go through a period of quarantine, pandemic or no pandemic, to ensure they are in good health before joining the other animals on exhibit.

They will remain in their indoor exhibit where they will be monitored for at least a month before joining the other animals on exhibit.

Holly, Ralph and Bakari will be part of Revolution Ridge, the Greensboro Science Center’s zoo expansion that is scheduled to open in late May.  Joining them at Revolution Ridge will be cassowaries, flamingos, a small cat complex, red pandas and a state-of-the-art animal hospital and conservation center.

In the news release, Jessica Hoffman-Balder, the Greensboro Science Center’s vice president of animal care and welfare, said, “We have been waiting a very long time to bring these new species to the Greensboro Science Center.  Arrangement for this transfer started well over a year ago, so it was truly amazing to finally see this day come.”