Dublin Zoo has announced that the first okapis in Ireland have become its newest residents.

Males Kamba, aged 14, and Kitabu, aged six, arrived from Rotterdam Zoo this month.

Dublin Zoo said: "The okapi is originally found in the Ituri Rainforest, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central Africa."

Dublin Zoo continued: "It is one of the last species of mammals to be described by western science and even today the okapi largely remains a mystery to the outside world.

"For most people living in Ireland this will be their first opportunity to see these extraordinary animals."

Dublin Zoo added: "Okapis are the only living relative of the giraffe. The okapi has a dark red-brown-coloured coat with horizontal, white-striped markings on their hind quarters and at the tops of their legs. Its long, black tongue is prehensile, meaning that it is able to strip leaves from the branches above.

"Unfortunately, due to deforestation and hunting, their numbers are declining rapidly."

Director of Dublin Zoo Leo Oosterweghel said: "It is a privilege to see such a rare and beautiful animal. They are a shy and sensitive animal and are still settling in so may not be visible every day."

For more on Dublin Zoo, visit: www.dublinzoo.ie.