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The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens welcomed a female Sichuan Takin on February 12. Takin (pronounced “TAH-kin”), are stocky goat-antelopes native to China’s remote mountain forests.

Photo Credit:  Los Angeles Zoo

In the wild, baby Takin begin to follow their mothers along steep paths when they are just three days old – a crucial survival skill for these leaf-eating animals.  Though heavily-built, Takin are surprisingly agile on the rocky cliffs of their homeland.  Their large hooves have a spur that makes them sure-footed even on steep terrain.  Males can weigh up to 800 pounds.  Both males and females have thick upward-turning horns.

Takin are well-suited to life in the cold.  In winter, they grow a secondary coat as protection from freezing temperatures.  Long nasal passages warm frigid air before it reaches the lungs. 

Because Takin live in remote areas, not much is known about their wild populations.  But habitat loss, hunting, and human disturbance have caused Takin to be listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.