Blood samples have been sent to Bangkok, Thailand to establish the cause of death

Wildlife: Seventeen takins at the Motithang takin preserve in Thimphu died in less than a week since January 24 while three are under observation as of yesterday.

While officials from the Department of Forest refused to provide any information, Kuensel learnt that blood samples have been sent to Bangkok, Thailand to establish the cause of death. It is not known what caused the deaths of the takins that are scientifically known as Budorcas taxicolor.

There were 30 takins at the reserve of which three are calves.

Veterinary officials said the takins suffered from breathing difficulty after which they died. Officials said that they are waiting for the results from Bangkok to understand what caused the breathing difficulties.

The takin zoo has been closed until further notice as it is yet to be confirmed whether or not it is infectious.

Protected under Schedule I of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act, the takin is the national animal of Bhutan. The takin is a threatened mammal native to the temperate and subtropical forests found in Bhutan, China, northeastern India, and northern Myanmar.

Legend has it that Lam Drukpa Kuenlay, a Tibetan saint created the animal in Bhutan. It is said that Lam Drukpa Kuenley fixed the head of a goat on the skeleton of the cow after which the animal sprang with life. It was then known as the takin.

The Motithang takin preserve was established in 1979 as a small zoo. It was later expanded over 19 acres of land. Besides the takins, the preserve is also home to other animals such as reindeer and gorals, among others.

Kinga Dema