In this new series of articles, The Nature Nook will be taking a look at a variety of legendary creatures from around the world, along with the animals that may have inspired them. For our first foray into the realm of myth and magic, we’ll be focusing on the famous unicorn. Although today it is considered a pure, gentle creature of fantasy, the unicorn in ancient times was described as a tough, violent beast, capable of running through an armoured warrior with its single horn.
A while back, The Nature Nook looked at the so-called ‘African unicorn’, the okapi. Half-believed but never seen, surrounded by legend and mystique, this highly secretive relative of the giraffe was only officially described by science at the start of the 20th century, long after most other large animals had been discovered and catalogued. A hundred and twenty years later, the okapi remains rare and elusive, but it can at least be seen in several zoos around the world and we now know much more about it.