Takin, One of the “Four Treasures ofQinling”
Date: 2019-08-05

Speaking of chubby black-white giant pandas, people would absolutely know, but in the mountains of southwestern China, many other animals share the same habitat with giant pandas. Today, let’s learn about takins, one of the “Four Qinling Treasures”.


The takin, related to antelope and cattle in its Chinese name “Ling Niu”, actually belongs to Caprinae and is essentially a sheep. The takin, as the only member of the genus Budorcas, compared with the goat, has an even closer evolutionary relationship with sheep. When Chinese people first heard the takin (Ling Niu), they probably confuse the takin with wildebeest (Niu Ling). In fact, they are very different not only in appearance but also in habitat. The two live in different continents separated by the entire Indian Ocean.


The takin has a kind of simple and honest temperament (live in high mountains and dense forests of Asia).


The wildebeest has the look and feel of movie's villain (live on the vast African grassland).


The takin, or golden takin in some areas, is a gentle herbivore with golden fur and two horns twisting backwards on its head. However, the twisting horns are not inherent. When the takin is still young, the horns are straight and tilted backwards.


Cute New-born Takin with No Horns


The Straight Horns of a Juvenile Takin


 Two horns begin to twist with age.


The twisted horns are as lovely as girl's hair accessories.


Careful people may have already found that the takin in the picture above is not wearing golden “armor” but with a look as it returns from mining. In fact, takins are divided into four subspecies, and their fur colors are not the same. In addition to the Shensi takin, there are also Sichuan takins with pale yellow and gray fur distributed in Mt. Minshan and Mt. Qionglai. The main color of the Mishmi takin in southeastern Tibet, Yunnan Province, eastern India and Myanmar is brown. The Bhutan takin, distributed in southern Tibet at the west of the great turning of the Yarlung Zangbo River and Bhutan, are mainly brownish gray. Generally, female takins have darker fur than males. The above is a Mishmi takin.


Bhutan Takin


Sichuan Takin


Golden takin is actually the Shensi takin.




Giant pandas’ favorite habitat with big trees and water sources, is also takins’ favorite. Maybe in the wild, there will be wonderful stories about the encounter between giant pandas and takins. I hope that we can continuously work together to protect their wild homes.




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