Lee Richardson Zoo


Order Artiodactyla

Family Bovidae

Scientific Name: Budorcas taxicolor


DescriptionTakins (TAH-kin- rhymes with rockin’) have stocky bodies, much like cattle, with extremely shaggy coats. They can be 5-7 feet long and stand 3-4.5 feet at the shoulders. They are taller at the shoulder than at the hip and can weigh between 330-880 lbs. Takins have stout legs with prominent dew claws. Their coat color can range from light yellow to various shades of brown. Females are much smaller than males and both have large, horizontal horns upswept at the ends.


Home Range:  Eastern Himalayas and into China


Habitat Type:  Often found in steep terrain in mixed conifer and broad leafed deciduous forests and alpine meadows at elevations of 4,000 – 9,800 feet. Occasionally found at higher elevations.


Reproduction: Sexual maturity is reached around 3.5 years of age for both males and females, although older males tend to do most of the mating. Mating usually occurs during August and September with births in March and April after a gestation of approximately 210 days. Multiple births have not been recorded.


Diet in the Wild:  A wide variety of vegetation including foliage from shrubs, trees, and forbs. Natural salt licks are frequently utilized. They are ruminants, eating in the early morning and late afternoon, digesting their food in the interim under heavy vegetative cover.


Diet in the Zoo:  Grass hay, grain, and browse.


General Information:  Takin are herd animals that often form groups ranging from 10-45 individuals on average. Larger groups have been reported during the summer season. Herds consist mostly of females with males usually being solitary or forming groups of 2-3. They migrate to high alpine meadows in the summer, and descend to lower elevation forests for the winter. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon. Because of their large size and their ability to rear up on their hind legs, they are able to reach browse that other herbivores cannot. They have also been known to push over small trees to gain access to the leaves. Natural salt licks are vital to takin survival and they will often travel great distances to reach them. These salt licks supplement the takins browse diet by adding important minerals. Predators are scarce, but both snow leopards and dholes (a type of wild dog found in Asia) have been known to feed on takin. Indigenous people place high value on takin meat and will capture them by using snares, deadfalls, and spear traps. The legendary “golden fleece” sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology is thought to have been the golden fur of the takin. Takin are the national animal of Bhutan. .


Conservation Status: The Sichuan Takin is listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Redlist and in Appendix II of CITES. Illegal hunting, disturbance from tourism, and habitat loss are the three main factors contributing to takin decline in the wild.


Bibliography Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia, 2nd edition. Volumes 12-16, Mammals I-V, edited by Michael Hutchins, Devra G. Kleiman, Valerius Geist, and Melissa C. McDade. Farminton Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2003. pp103 Song, Y.-L., Smith, A.T. & MacKinnon, J. 2008. Budorcas taxicolor. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 25 September 2013. Walker’s Mammals of the World, 6th edition, Volume II, edited by Ronald M. Nowak, the John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 1999. pp 1215 Wilson, D.E. & Mittermeier, R.A. eds. (2011). Handbook of Mammals of the World. Vol. 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona pp 713-714