This week we will travel to the Congo Democratic Republic and learn about the 50 Cent p84c 1997 note.  This note features the Okapi (oh-COP-ee) – which is an animal I had never heard of until now!  From looking at pictures which show their black and white striped legs I would have guessed that this animal was related to the zebra, but I was surprised to learn that its closest relative is an animal I would not have expected – do you have a guess if you look at its head?  It is actually the giraffe!  The Okapi does not have a long neck, but you can see a similarly shaped head that definitely resembles the giraffe.  Okapi are native to the Ituri Forest in Central Africa.  It is thought that they do not have a long neck like the giraffe because this would make it very difficult for them to navigate in the dense rainforest, and there are plenty of low hanging branches with food, so they do not need a long neck to reach.  They are typically about 5 feet tall (like me!) and 440-770 lbs (a bit more than me!).  Okapis are hard to spot in the wild as they have very sensitive ears which can rotate independently and are able to detect humans or other threats coming far before they are seen.  And the stripes that would deceive us into thinking this animal is a type of zebra, actually act as camouflage for the okapi.  Interestingly, they also are able to communicate in pitches so low that the human ear cannot detect them, and scientists only discovered this by making recordings of the animals.  What a beautiful and interesting animal for the Congo DR to feature on their banknote!  Okapis are not even very commonly found at zoos – have you ever seen one?

Country: Congo Democratic Republic
Denomination: 50 Cents
Pick #: 84c
Year: 1997
Grade: UNC
Coloration: Light Brown
Depictions: Herd of Okapis; Head of Okapi, Bank Crest
Note Size: 4 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
Continent: Africa
Watermark: Okapi Head