Takin Reseach Centre, Thimphu
The strange-looking Takin is a goat-antelope found only in the Himalayas and and is the National Animal of Bhutan. The Takin Research Centre (also known as the 'Mothithang Takin Preserve) protects this endangered creature. The King of Bhutan at one stage decided that keeping these creatures in 'a zoo' was not in keeping with Bhutan's environmental policies and the takins were released into the wild. Being so tame, however, the takins could be found wandering through Thimphu city centre in search of food, so it was decided to return them to captivity.
Legend has it that when the famous Lama Drukpa Kunley, "the divine madman", visited Bhutan in the 15th century, he was asked to perform a miracle to give proof of his magical powers. He insisted on first being served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. He devoured these with relish and left only bones. After letting out a large and satisfied burp, he took the goat's head and stuck it onto the bones of the cow. And then with a snap of his fingers, he commanded the strange beast to rise up and graze on the mountainside. Thus the Takin was born.