Growing the Herd

The male Sichuan takin at Antelope & Zebra Area

Sichuan Takin Get to Know One Another

Weighing in at an average of 600 pounds, and reaching 4 feet in height, Sichuan takin need a fairly large space to live comfortably. Native to China’s mountainous region, these large goat antelopes make their homes in the wild at elevations ranging from 4,000–14,000 feet. The Sichuan takin at the Antelope & Zebra Area, however, live in two outsized yards with ample shelter and shade. Animal care staff keep them busy with many forms of enrichment, including boomer balls, empty barrels, tree stumps and anything heavy enough for them to kick around the yard.

The species has become vulnerable in the wild due to hunting and habitat loss. As part of a recommendation from the Sichuan Takin Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo has recently welcomed a new male takin from the Montgomery Zoo. The 6-year-old male currently lives with a 10-year-old female in a yard adjacent to the rest of the takin, but plans are in place to merge the two herds in March.  

Although takin breeding season isn't until summer, zoo staff are watching closely as the two animals get to know one another.  “Future signs of courtship would include the male following the female around closely or gently nuzzling around her face and neck area,” explains Laszlo Szilagyi, the zoological manager for the Antelope & Zebra Area. Since the pair is at a suitable age for breeding, only time will tell if a new arrival will be joining the herd.

 

by Cassie Stein • Published February 22, 2012

Article updated February 24, 2012 to correct the male's name and the timing of breeding season.


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