BTFEC funded project: “ The study of Bhutan’s National Animal Takin Mgration” conducted by a team of researchers led by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE).
Bhutan’s national animal is Takin (Budorcas taxicolor whitei), it is a subspecies and an endemic to the country.
- Not all takins of Tsharijathang migrate to Gasa in JDNP which most local residents believed. Some of the takins of Tsharijathang are found to migrate towards Soe and Naro in Paro and Lingshi in Thimphu. Similarly, a different story from collared takin of Kabina which heads to Lunana from Laya TaksiMakhang. The fission movement of takins to various places is a new finding which assures good genetic diversity in the population.
- The takin has different migration strategy where female migrate to summer habitat in a shorter distance (< 3km) with frequent breaks of a fortnight in a particular place. Such movement is an adapted migration behaviour to allow their newborn calf to cope with the migration through the rugged mountainous terrain. On the contrary, the male migrates to the winter ground along the ridgeline for three days continuously, and he goes above 5300m asl for more than three hours (8.45PM to 1.45AM) travelling about 18km in a day. The ridgeline movement at that height through late night is certainly an interesting finding of a male animal migration.
- The takin’s habitation has shown clear hotspot area in and around hot springs and salt lick. The collar data clearly showed the cluster around such landmark .
- The study will go a long way in contributing to science and knowledge of the Bhutan takin especially of its migrations across its habitat and range. It is also expected to have a bearing in developing conservation management plan for our national animal – The Bhutan Takin.