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What is a takin? Find out at Lincoln Park Zoo

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two newborns have visitors at Lincoln Park Zoo asking the same question: What's a takin?

Just two weeks after a takin was born at Lincoln Park Zoo, a second baby takin was born. And, they have the same takin father, Quanli.

Both are males. And, their mothers get along just fine.

"We've got two calves born here in the last week and a half at Lincoln Park Zoo and you can see them on exhibit right now. They were introduced yesterday. The entire group brought back together and everything is going great," Dave Bernier, general curator at Lincoln Park Zoo, said.

The two new takin babies are just starting to learn that they are in for a lifetime of being confused with other animals. Just look at them. What are they? What do they look like?

A yak? An ox? A buffalo? Not quite. Takins are very unusual goats. . . great big, powerful goats from the mountains of China, where they are sometimes hunted for meat. Takin are also considered almost sacred beasts, and protected by the Chinese government.

"For the most part the species is pretty well revered and it's protected. This is one of the few species China has gone out of its way to protect. It's almost on the same level as panda in some regions of China," Bernier said.

Takin look so peaceful and gentle, but Bernier recommends staying away.

"They are very formidable animals. These are animals that we consider to be dangerous. We would never be in the same space with them," Bernier said.

The two tiny takin weigh about 25 pounds. When full grown, they could reach 600 pounds. So stop by Lincoln Park Zoo before they lose their cuteness.

Neither baby has a name yet. The zoo wants the public to vote on what to name the takins at lpzoo.org. The choices are:

  • Yen Li - calming strength
  • Chen Li - morning strength
  • Mengyao - superior handsomeness
  • Ming Hoa - shining elite
  • Temur Khan - blessed iron ruler
  • Xing Fu - happy good fortune
The two most popular names will go to the calves.

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