Qinling Mountains: Is takin a cow or an antelope?
Updated 19:32, 08-Oct-2019

One of the largest mammals in the world, the takin species has characteristics of both a cow and an antelope. Its weight can reach 400 kilograms, almost the same as an adult polar bear. Both male and female takins have short, twisted horns that make them look like deer. However, their faces are like a horse's. Their hooves are similar to a cow's, and their tails look like a donkey's.

Some say it is a cow. Others believe it is a goat. However, the takin is closer to a goat, according to its DNA. The takin belongs to a large species of hoofed animals in the subfamily Caprinae, which includes goats, sheep and antelopes.

Takin has four subspecies: the Mishmi takin, the Qinling takin, the Sichuan takin, and the Bhutan takin. Qinling takin, also known as Golden Takin, is the most beautiful among the four because of its rare golden fur.

Qinling takin is native to the Qinling Mountains in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. They usually live between 150-3,600 meters above sea level, where there is a mix of broadleaf-conifer forests, subalpine coniferous forests and alpine meadows. In summer, takins prefer to stay at high-altitude where it is cooler, while in autumn and winter, they start to move to lower altitudes where it is less cold, and there is more food.

Takins usually live in small family groups of about 20 to 30 individuals. Early morning and dusk are their most active periods, as they usually forage. They can feed on grass, leaves, flowers and even bamboo.

Same as the panda, the Qinling takin is an endangered species in China due to deforestation, hunting and habitat fragmentation. It has been classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

(Cover image a still from the video)

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