Meet the Animals
- 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). Scientists and zoo professionals work together to help endangered and threatened species through cooperative breeding programs, research, education, fundraising and reintroduction.
- Takin are most active in the winter, so that is a great time to see the Takin herd.
What do I look like?
Some people think I look like a cross between a moose and a wildebeest, and others think I look like a combination of a bear and a bison, but I am a Takin! My name rhymes with rockin.’ I am closely related to sheep and goats and I’m considered a goat antelope. I have a thick golden coat that covers my large body. My long horns are thick and curve around my head. I have four short legs each with two-toed hooves.
What do I eat?
I’m an herbivore. I get all my energy from eating plants. Bamboo, grass, leaves and buds are some of my favorites.
Where do I live?
There are four different kinds of Takin. Sichuan Takin, like me, can only be found in the western forested regions and bamboo groves of China and bordering mountainous regions. Sometimes I share my habitat with the giant panda. I am a great climber and my strong legs let me live high up in the mountains. Many people don’t think I am so agile because of my large size, but I leap from rock to rock on rough slopes. I migrate to higher elevations in the summer and come back to lower regions in the winter.
How big is my family?
I live in a large herd that sometimes includes more than 200 Takin! Older males like to live in much smaller groups or by themselves. My mating season is in July and August. My mate will give birth to one calf after seven or eight months.
How am I adapted for winter?
I spend my winters in the freezing Himalayan Mountains. I naturally grow an extra thick coat to keep me warm and insulated. My nose is also very helpful. I have a large sinus cavity that warms the cold air that I breathe in. I also have a natural raincoat and my skin gives off an oily substance that protects me from fog and snow.
Did You Know?
Female Takin usually weigh around 500 pounds and the males can weigh up to 800 pounds. One Takin might weigh more than every member in your family put together!
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 are considered a national treasure in China, and have the highest level of legal protection. However, they are still endangered because of over-hunting and habitat destruction.
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.