Trading Takins

If you have visited the Antelope & Zebra Area in recent days you may have spotted a lone Sichuan takin exploring his yard. This five-year-old male recently transferred from Alabama’s Montgomery Zoo to complement our herd of three females and one other male slated for transfer, as he is related to the females.

As with many animal introductions, we’re taking it slow. Since his arrival here in March, the new takin has been increasingly allowed to see, smell and get near his future exhibit mates (and potential breeding mates). This enables the animals to slowly acclimate to one another and eases the actual, physical introduction that will take place soon. I’ll be sure to keep you posted…the takins are among my favorite animals.
This recent transfer exemplifies the process of animal pairing among institutions within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the non-profit association of zoos and aquariums that hold themselves to the highest standards in animal care and welfare. We all strive to advance the work of conservation, science and education. Of the thousands of animal facilities throughout the nation, only a couple hundred actually meet the high standards of AZA accreditation.
Lincoln Park Zoo is proud to have been a part of the AZA since its inception. (And I had the honor of serving as the Chair of the AZA Board of Directors last year.) We hold ourselves to the highest standards of animal care, education and conservation, which fits with the ethos of the AZA. 
Our affiliation with the AZA entails regular inspections to ensure we’re maintaining our collection, grounds, staff and scientific initiatives. As part of the AZA we work with elected officials to ensure a bright future for zoos, aquariums and the animals in their care.
Lastly, one of the things that most surprises people about Lincoln Park Zoo is that we share our animals with other AZA institutions. We manage our populations collectively so that if, say, a male Sichuan takin in Alabama is an ideal genetic breeding match for the females at Lincoln Park Zoo, animal-care staff will facilitate that move.
The transfer is going smoothly. Here’s hoping for Sichuan takin calves! Again, I’ll keep you posted.
Kevin Bell
*I'll be at Wine & Wildflowers on September 1. I hope to see you there. 


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