April 11, 2007

Takin – Bhutan National Animal

Just for a moment, I thought I would share with everyone the National Animal of Bhutan – Takin. Takin was declared by Royal Government of Bhutan as National Animal on 25th November 1985.

The reason why Bhutan selected Takin as National Animal is associated with Bhutan Religious and Mythology, it was during the time Lama Drukpa Kuenly (1455 – 1529) the Divine Madman and Bhutan Favorite Saints known for his outrageous antic. One day his devotees were gathered to witness his magical power and they asked him to perform a miracle. However, the saint, in his usual unorthodox and outrageous way, demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. Having devoured both and leaving only the bones, he stuck the goat head on the bones of the cow.

To everyone amazement, upon a commanded uttered by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the animal came to life , arose and ran to the meadow and then began to graze. The animal came to be known as “Dong Gyem Tsey” and can still be seen grazing in the mountain meadows of the Kingdom. Due to it’s uniqueness, the Takin continues to befuddle taxonomists. Unable to relate it to any other animals and they have put it in a category by itself Budorcas Taxicolor.

Takin Seen in Motithang Zoo in Thimphu

About Takin:
Takin(Budorcas Taxicolor) is one of the larger and stockier of the goat antelope, plump, bovine like body which is covered with dense long yellow to brown hairs. Its shorts stocky legs supported by two large two toed hooves a strong dew claws as an adaptation to the mountainous environment. The large head is made distinctive by the the large arched “Roman” Nose. Both the sexes have strong horns which are 25-30 cm/10-12 inches long and its curve out, backward and upwards at the tip.

Takin are found in the Himalayan ranges and western china. A subspecies Budorcas Taxicolor whitei (With Bhutan Takin) has a distribution range from Bhutan eastward to Myanmar and China. In Bhutan they are found Primarily in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park.

Takin body length varies from 170-1220 cm/ 5.7-7.3 ft long and weight up to 350 kg/770 lb. Takin are classified as vulnerable and is protected in Bhutan due to threat of competition with domestic yaks for food, lose of habit and logging, their main predators are Bears, Snow Leopard and Wolves.

Takin herd largely in the forested valley migrating to rocky, grass covered alpine zones in the winter where altitude ranges from 100 to 400 meters above sea level. They are generalist herbivore, mostly a browser and feeds in the early morning or late afternoon and eats leaves which are found on deciduous trees or shrubs, and also grass, bamboo and herbs. They are also having been known to drink from hot springs.

Takin mating period usually fall in between July and August, gestation period last for about 7-8 months and give birth to one per year and rarely 2, the babies weight about 5-7 kg/11-15.4 lb and the weaning is about 7-8 months, after 2.5 years old the young are considered for sexual maturity. The life span of Takin is around 12-15 years.

Interesting Facts About Takin :
1. In Meadows Takin form herds while in forest they herds scatter with most animals remaining solitary.
2. When threatened, adults bulls have been known to lie down on the grown with their necks stretched out in a very successful use of camouflage, their alarm call resembles a cough.
3. Unlike Many Mammals that have localized scents glands to mark their territory, Takin produce an oily, strong smelling, substance secreted over the whole body. They rub against trees and shrubs to make territory
4. Takin calves born between December and February are black in color in contrast to the golden yellow and Brownish color of Adults.


Peter Parslow said...

Has the zoo reopened? Back when I lived in Thimphu (94-96) it closed, and the Takin which were released wandered into town.

ugyen said...

Yea Peter, The zoo is opened now.

Analía said...

Coming here means learning a lot ugyen, I like that :)
I hope you have a great week

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an interesting Blog and some very informative articles. I found this one about the Takin Preserve particularly interesting. Perhaps you may wish to also review it at trivago?
Kind regards,

Unknown said...

Il mondo è un libro e quelli che non viaggiano ne legge solo una pagina..................Viaggi in nepal & viaggiin Bhutan

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