Some people think they look like a cross between a moose and a wildebeest, others think they look like a combination of a bear and a bison but, that is a Takin! (The name rhymes with rockin’) Takin are closely related to sheep and goats and are considered a goat antelope. They have a thick golden coat that covers their large body. Takin can be over four feet tall and weigh more than 700 pounds. They have long 20 inch horns with thick and curve around their head. They have four short legs with two-toed hooves.
Takin are herbivores. They get all their energy from eating plants. Bamboo, grass, leaves and buds are some of their favorites.
There are four different kinds of Takin. Sichuan Takin, can only be found in the Western forested regions and bamboo groves of China and bordering mountainous regions. Sometimes they share their habitat with the giant panda. Takin are great climbers with strong legs that help them live in the mountains with an elevation of 6,400 feet! They are very agile even with their large size, they leap from rock to rock on rough slopes. Takin migrate to higher elevations in the summer and come back to lower regions in the winter.
Sichuan Takin live in a large herd that sometimes includes more than 200 Takin! Older males like to live in much smaller groups or by themselves. Their mating season is in July and August. Females will give birth to one calf seven or eight months later.
Did you know…?
- Female Takin usually weight around 500 pounds and the males can weigh up to 800 pounds.
- Are they sick, why are they coughing? They have few predators due to their large size, but when they do sense danger they let out a loud cough to warn others in their herd.
- Takin have special adaptations to help them live in cold temperatures. They have a large sinus cavity that warms the cold air they breathe in. Their skin secretes oil to protect them from the damp fog that is common in their environment.
- Takin have inspired many different stories in history. The beast in the classic Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast is based on the Takin. The legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece may also have been inspired by the Sichuan Takin’s golden fur coat.
- Considered a national treasure in China, Takin have the highest level of legal protection. However, they are still endangered because of over-hunting and habitat destruction.
Sichuan Takin at the Red River Zoo
- Two female and one male Sichuan Takin live at the Red River Zoo. Their exhibit is located along Takin Ridge behind the carousel pavilion.
- The Red River Zoo’s Sichuan Takin are a part of Species Survival Plan (SSP).