Sichuan Takin exhibit opened at Roger Williams Park Zoo

Sichuan Takin exhibit opened at Roger Williams Park Zoo

The two males are the only ones of their species in the North East

Providence, RI – Follow the Marco Polo Trek at Roger Williams Park Zoo and take advantage of a rare opportunity to see Sichuan takin, the only ones of their kind in the entire Northeast.  Takin are impressive in appearance with large horns, prominent moose-like snouts, and powerful musculature like bison. Males can reach up to 7.5 feet in length from head to tail and weigh up to 880 pounds, while females are smaller. The animals at the Zoo, named Chopper and Har Lee, are both males. They were born at The Wilds in Ohio in May 2009.

Takin, which are ruminant hoof stock, are native to mountainous areas in the Himalayan region including Tibet, China, Bhutan India and Myanmar where they range at altitudes from 6,500 to 15,000 feet. They can be found in temperate forests and alpine meadows.  Takin spend summer months at higher elevations to the tree line and migrate to lower forest valleys for the winter.  They live in herds comprised of cows, babies (called kids), subadults and young males, with bulls remaining solitary except during the mating season.

More fun facts about takin:

- Like the word moose, no “s” is added to pluralize the noun.

- In summer takin eat primarily forbs (which is a herbaceous flowing plant) and deciduous leaves. In winter they make do with twigs and evergreen leaves.

- Adult takin have few natural enemies other than bears and the pack hunting wolf (Asia’s wild dog); snow leopards can take down takin juveniles.

- It is believed that the "golden fleece" sought by Jason in Greek mythology was a Shensi, or golden takin pelt.

Takin are considered a vulnerable species part because they are hunted for meat but primarily because their habitat dis being destroyed by farming, mining and logging operations. China, where this species is considered a national treasure along with giant pandas, has given the takin full protection under Chinese law.

The other species in the Marco Polo Trek include moon bears, red crowned cranes, snow leopard and red panda. 

Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s number one outdoor family and tourist attraction and is also a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size. The Zoo has received numerous awards for conservation work done both around the globe and in local habitats as well, caring for species that, without human intervention, would face certain extinction.  Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and maintained by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence.