Native to the Democratic Republic of Congo, okapis are mainly found within the Ituri Forest and prefer very dense tropical rainforests. While they usually remain in the thick vegetation, they also frequent nearby riverbeds. In the filtered sunlight of the rainforest understory, their bold stripes act as great camouflage.
Deforestation, along with the changing political climate in central Africa, has led to a loss of habitat for the okapi population. They are also a target for poachers because of their unique pelts and meat. Due to their reclusive nature, most of the behavioral information known to scientists has been gathered in captivity. Scientists believe they are still well distributed throughout their range, with approximately 25,000 individuals left in the wild, and they are currently not considered threatened.