Cincinnati, OH (November 17, 2015)— Four-month-old takin “Dale” has been reunited with his mom, “Sally,” after being cared for in Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s nursery for the first months of his life. Zoo staff intervened and turned Dale over to nursery keepers when Sally, a first time mom, didn’t pay attention to her newborn.
The nursery staff took care of feeding Dale, and “Blakely,” the Zoo’s resident nursery dog, handled socialization and taught behaviors (through play) to get him healthy and strong enough to rejoin his parents in Wildlife Canyon. After 3 ½ months of nursery care, Dale outgrew his companion and was given the green light by Zoo veterinarians to start introductions with Sally and dad, “Harry.”
“We started by giving mom and baby visual access through a mesh screen. After that went well, we put them together for short periods. They are now together all the time and getting along great. Sally nuzzles him and responds when he initiates play,” said Wildlife Canyon Keeper Paul Reinhart. “Blakely started to avoid Dale’s head butts, but his 500-pound mom is receptive to his forceful bids for attention!”
Dale and his mom can now be seen together in the Zoo’s Wildlife Canyon exhibit. Takins are hearty animals and are fine cold temperatures, making them good animals to visit during the winter months. Their neighbors, Bactrian camels “Saari” and “Humphrey,” will also be out in cold weather.
Takins are large, muscular, hoofed mammals that reside in mountainous bamboo forests. Native to the Himalayas and Western China, they weigh anywhere between 550 and 770 pounds, and have a height range between 3 and 4 feet. Both males and females have unique horns that curve backwards and outwards, and range between 10 and 12 inches in length. Takins generally live for 12 to 15 years and have a diet of grasses, leaves, buds, and shoots. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, using their split hooves to move easily over the rocky terrain. Their main predators are bears and wolves which they ward off with low roars and bellows.
The Cincinnati Zoo is one of only 17 institutions in the U.S. that houses takins. Dale is the seventh takin to be born in Cincinnati.