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What the Okapi?

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It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I love animals, ridiculous creatures that they are. So, why is it that it's taken me so long to hear about the Okapi? Apparently, the animal, which looks like a missing link between the zebra and the horse, resides in the Ituri rainforest of central Africa. Of course, I looked up the entry on wikipedia thanks to our friends at neatorama, and was so in disbelief that I double-checked the thing on Britannica. Apparently, it exists. In any case, here are a few facts culled straight from everyone's favorite "˜pedia, just in case you too missed out on the huge okapi fad of the early 1900s.

  • Although it bears striped markings reminiscent of the zebra, it is most closely related to the giraffe.
  • The tongue of an okapi is long enough for the animal to wash its eyelids and clean its ears.
  • Okapis are essentially solitary, coming together only to breed.
  • The first Okapi to arrive in North America was at the Bronx Zoo in 1937.
  • Apparently, in the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series, Arthur Dent's brother was said to have been nibbled to death by an okapi. The exact circumstances that brought this fate about were left unclear.

Also, a pair supposedly make an appearance in Evan Almighty-- the first two good reasons I've heard to see the flick.

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iStock
China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
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iStock

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
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YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!

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