Minnesota Zoo Media Contact

If you are a member of the press, please contact: Josh Le
Communications and Media Relations Manager
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.431.9534 direct
952.250.7293 mobile
[email protected]

Apple Valley, MINN – March 6, 2018 – The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a rare female Sichuan takin (pronounced: talk-in) calf, born February 13. The new calf is growing and can now be seen in the public takin habitat along the Northern Trail with mom.

The calf, named “Ying Tou,” weighed approximately 14 pounds at birth. She is slightly smaller than average for her species, but zookeepers report she is strong and doing well. She will reach maturity – around 700 pounds for females – in four years.

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 Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. The Zoo’s 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).