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    Two baby golden takins born at Pairi Daiza

    The two baby takins have a darker coat than the adults. © Belga

    Animal park Pairi Daiza in Brugelette in Hainaut province has announced the birth of two baby golden takins.

    The golden takin (Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi) is a goatlike antelope native to the Qin Mountains in the southern Chinese province of Shaanxi.

    The takin is characterised by its thick, heavy golden coat, which is lubricated with an oily substance that protects it against the cold and wet of a Himalayan winter. Males and females both have horns which can grow up to 90cm.

    The two newborns bring the total number of takins at the park to seven. Pairi Daiza takes part in the European Studbooks programme, a conservation project run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

    The animal is endangered. Though it has no natural predators, its numbers in the wild have fallen by 30% over the last 24 years, as a result of hunting and loss of habitat. The golden takin is now qualified as “vulnerable” on the Red List maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Last week, the animal park announced the birth of a Père David’s deer (Elaphurus davidianus), also known as the milu – an animal that is considered extinct in the wild.

    All three new arrivals will be on show when the park re-opens, on 4 May at the earliest – “if sanitary conditions and government decisions allow it,” the park’s website says.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times