Mom and baby are bonding in their behind-the-scenes den

Seven-year-old takin Sally gave birth to a healthy calf on Saturday, March 18, 2017, around 2pm at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Her previous calf, born in 2015, had to be hand-reared due to medical issues, so this is her first real attempt to raise offspring.  Her care staff has observed multiple nursing sessions and reported that the calf looks good and strong.

“We are delighted to see that Sally is being so attentive to this calf and that her maternal instincts have kicked in,” said Mike Dulaney, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “We’re leaving them alone as much as possible to give them time to bond. If all continues to go well, we hope to have mom and offspring in their outdoor habitat in a couple of weeks.”

The calf’s big brother, Dale, spent his first months being cared for by nursery staff and famous canine nanny Blakely. After he was weaned, he was reintroduced to his mother and eventually to his dad, six-year-old Harry.  The three were together as a family until last week when Sally was separated to prepare for the birth.

Takins are large, muscular, hoofed mammals that reside in mountainous bamboo forests and share characteristics with both goats and antelopes. Native to the Himalayas and Western China, adult takins weigh between 550 and 900 pounds and are 3 to 4 feet tall. Both males and females have unique horns that curve backwards and outwards and range between 10 and 12 inches in length.

The new arrival marks the Zoo’s eighth live takin birth. The Cincinnati Zoo is one of only 17 Zoos in the U.S. that care for takins. The gender and name of the 20-pound calf have not been determined.