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Endangered takin sighted in Arunachal
Published on 27 Dec. 2009 1:14 AM IST
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Takin, the animal that is said to have fuelled the mythological Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece, has been officially sighted for the first time in India. The ‘success’ has come almost two decades after the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India had undertaken an exercise. The fur of the Mishmi Takin isn’t golden like its Chinese cousin — Shanxi or Golden Takin. But the first officially recorded sightings of the former in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh have assured wildlife enthusiasts that the animal, a goat antelope, still exists. “We have had a number of direct sightings of takins following a survey conducted in Upper Siang district,” said Soumya Dasgupta of the Wildlife Trust of India. “The animal is under tremendous hunting pressure, as the local tribal people hunt them for meat.” Along with the Mishmi and Shanxi, the takin (Budorcas taxicolor) has four subspecies. The other two are Tibetan or Sichuan Takin and the Bhutan Takin. All of these are highly endangered and found in the Eastern Himalayans. The takin is Bhutan’s national animal, but the status hasn’t stopped it from being hunted despite a legend associating it with Buddhism. A 15th century monk named Lama Drukpa Kunley is believed to have used his powers to create the takin using the head of a goat and the bones of a cow he had devoured. According to wildlife enthusiasts, the fleshy takin of Arunachal Pradesh could very well need some miracle to survive the hunting spree.

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