Minnesota Zoo Media Contact

If you are a member of the press, please contact: Kelly Lessard
Public Relations Manager
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.431.9217 direct
952.431.9300 fax
[email protected]

Editor’s Note: For photos/video of the calf behind-the-scenes, contact Kelly Lessard @ [email protected]

Apple Valley, MINN – February 25, 2016  – The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a rare female Sichuan takin calf, born February 4.

The calf, named “Bing Leng” (which means “ice cold” after the day she was born) weighed approximately 18 pounds at birth. She will reach maturity – around 700 pounds for females – in four years. The calf’s father is 15-years-old; mom is 13.

Considered national treasures by the Chinese, takins are listed as “protected” by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are rare – only 100 are currently exhibited in 18 zoos. The Minnesota Zoo has welcomed 17 takin since 1978.

Takin are mysterious animals: found in forest mountainsides in China, the Sichuan takin prefers mid-altitude mountains, dense undergrowth, and rocky hillsides. They also share the same ranges as pandas and golden monkeys. The Chinese refer to the takin as “Ling Niu” or “antelope cow.” This unusual-looking relative of the musk ox looks like a small moose, climbs like a mountain goat, has short curved horns like a gnu, and snorts. Takins, which stand 3–4 feet high, eat shrubs, grasses, and leaves. They are even able to stand on their hind legs and reach branches 10 feet off the ground.

There are three subspecies of takin: Mishmi, Golden, and Sichuan. The Mishmi takin, found in India, Bhutan, and Burma, can be recognized by its chocolate-brown coat. The Golden takin, named for its golden color, is found in China as is the Sichuan takin, whose appearance can be considered a mix the other two subspecies: a golden face with a dark-colored body.

The Minnesota Zoo participates in a breeding loan agreement with other zoos, a valuable tool allowing zoos to breed unrelated animals. The takin “couple,” both on loan from the San Diego Zoo, had their first calf, a male, in 2010.

The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).