Baby Takin

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Baby takins like this one are adorable little creatures!

Monday afternoon, January 30, 2012, I was standing in front of the giant panda enclosures in the San Diego Zoo’s Panda Trek, talking to guests, when a gentleman walked up to me very casually and said, “One of your buffalos is giving birth.” I looked at the guest ambassador next to me, and we ran down to our “buffalo,” which are actually Sichuan takins. As I couldn’t really see anything right away, I had to ask other guests in the area if they could see a baby and made my way toward the front of the exhibit. As I looked into the corner of the cave, I was delighted to see a little, dark heap in the corner being licked clean by her mother, Summer. I quickly called keepers, who then called supervisors and vet staff to inform them of our newest addition.

Summer is an experienced mother here at the Zoo and was not nervous and never hesitated with this baby. The other adult female in the enclosure, Blondie, was keeping the younger takins from getting too close to the newborn. As the baby was getting cleaned, she began to try to stand up and, of course, at first she was very wobbly. But after a few tries she began standing and even moving around. After a few minutes, the adult females allowed the other young takins to come check out the new baby and see what the buzz was about. They were a little nervous at first yet very curious about the new little bundle. Soon after this, the new male, Leon, came to check out the baby. All of the staff and visitors were entertained by the male, who was rather apprehensive of the wobbly 20-pound (9 kilograms) baby. As the baby walked toward Leon, he was quick to walk backward!

After the herd had checked the baby out and gotten the clear from Summer, they were satisfied with their newest member and went about their business. Everyone began browsing and finishing their food. But for our visitors and staff, we were still excited and enchanted with the little charcoal fluff ball warming her way into our hearts!

Anastasia Horning is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Pandas: Another Switch.