Welcome baby Paulina! Hellabrunn Zoo celebrates first takin birth in five years
Mishmi takins are native to the high mountains of the Himalayas. The youngest of the five-member herd at Hellabrunn Zoo is already displaying the skills required to be a takin: climbing, fighting and lightning quick changes in direction.
Born on 19 February, Paulina often likes to display her amazing climbing skills to astonished visitors. Although not quite half a metre tall, the baby Mishmi takin can already spring onto rocks that are more than twice its height. Almost immediately after birth, the takin calf, which weighed approximately 6.7 kg at the time, succeeded in its first attempt at standing - an essential requirement for prey that need to run and flee to survive. Adult Mishmi takins can spring three to four metres.
"Paulina was born on 19 February, in the afternoon, in her enclosure, near the zoo's Kinderland,” says Zoo director Rasem Baban, delighted with the excellent development of the baby takin. “The birth was pretty straightforward and lasted about two hours. She now weighs about ten kilos. In addition to her mama Kim’s nutritious breast milk, Paulina has tried almost everything that adult takins like to eat, such as hay and pine needles."
The gestation period for a Mishmi takin lasts between seven to eight months. Takin calves are suckled by their mothers up until around nine months, after which they are fed hay and carrots, as well as minerals and pellets, by the keepers at Hellabrunn Zoo.
Both female and male takins have distinctive short, stout horns that curve upwards from the centre of the head. Signs of baby Paulina’s horn growth began to appear three days after birth and are clearly visible in the position where the horns will eventually emerge. This actually makes the little calf look like a mini version of her mother, who was born five years ago in Hellabrunn and has since been given the nickname "Sporty Kim" by her keepers, because she is so energetic. Paulina follows Kim's every move so that one day she can be as good as mama. Small fights to test the power of the horns are as much a part of everyday life as annoying papa Till. But the peaceful, six-years-old father, who has been living in Munich since May 2014, takes everything in his strides. Like most families, the parents tend to go a bit easy on their first child.
About Mishmi takin:
The Mishmi takin is native to southeast Tibet, China's southwest Yunnan province and the bordering regions of northeast India and northern Myanmar. This subspecies of takin is not listed as endangered so far but rare due to intensive hunting and habitat destruction.
The stocky, muscular goat-antelope is found at altitudes of up to 5,000 m, where its short legs and broad, two-toed hooves ensure it can roam surefooted. The Mishmi takin’s thick, shaggy coat is covered by an oily substance secreted by the skin, which protects against the cold, damp air of the Himalayas.