The national animal Takin

posted on 04/03/2014, 19:40 by Natalia Wangdi

The national animal is the Takin (Burdorcastaxicolor) that is associated with religious history and mythology.

It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. It lives in groups and is found above 4000 meters on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboo. The adult Takin can weigh over 200 kgs.

Takin was declared by Royal Government of Bhutan as National Animal on 25th November 1985.

The reason why Bhutan selected Takin as National Animal is associated with Bhutan Religious and Mythology, it was during the time Lama Drukpa Kuenly (1455 - 1529) the Divine Madman and Bhutan Favorite Saints known for his outrageous antic. One day his devotees were gathered to witness his magical power and they asked him to show a miracle. However, the saint, in his usual unorthodox and outrageous way, demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. Having devoured both and leaving only the bones, he stuck the goat head on the bones of the cow.

To everyone amazement, upon a commanded uttered by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the animal came to life, arose and ran to the meadow and then began to graze. The animal came to be known as "Dong Gyem Tsey" and can still be seen grazing in the mountain meadows of the Kingdom. Due to it's uniqueness, the Takin continues to befuddle taxonomists. Unable to relate it to any other animals and they have put it in a category by itself Budorcas Taxicolor.

You can see the Takin in the Thimphu Zoo.

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