22 takins have died so far at the Motithang takin preserve since January 24

Update: Fodder toxicity is suspected to have caused the deaths of takins at the Motithang takin preserve in Thimphu since January 24.

As of last month, 22 takins of the total 31 died at the takin preserve after suffering from breathing difficulty.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said that blood samples have been sent to Bangkok, Thailand but the takins are suspected to have died from fodder toxicity.

Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that the takins are fed fodder that is collected from forests in different parts of the country. They have stopped feeding fodder to the remaining takins.

The blood samples to Bangkok were sent more than a week ago.

The takins died in less than a week since January 24 while two that were under observation have recovered. There are nine takins at the reserve now of which four are calves.

Scientifically known as Budorcas taxicolor, the takin is an endangered mammal native to the temperate and subtropical forests of Bhutan, China, northeastern India, and northern Myanmar.

The takin is the national animal of Bhutan and it is protected under Schedule I of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act. 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 takins, the preserve is also home to other animals such as reindeer and gorals, among others.

Meanwhile, the takin zoo has been closed until further notice as it is yet to be confirmed whether or not it is epidemic.

Kinga Dema