Five years ago I started The Species Project, a drawing exercise featuring different animal species from around the world, including a bit of info about each subject. Facebook was kind enough to remind me of The Species Project's 5 year anniversary the other day, so what better time to resurrect it?
Allow me to introduce you to:
The Species Project #123
Sichuan takin (Budorcas taxicolor tibetana)
Listed as a vulnerable species, the Sichuan takin is native to Tibet and the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Xinjiang in the People's Republic of China. Takin inhabit the same dense bamboo forests as the better known giant panda. Sichuan takins live in these dense thickets and bamboo groves, in family groups of up to 30 individuals. Despite being large, stocky and relatively slow moving, the Sichuan takin is quite agile in maneuvering its rocky habitat with often steep and challenging slopes.
The takin was previously considered closely related to the Arctic muskox. Physical similarities have now been found to be due to convergent evolution and not through a common ancestor. DNA sequencing recently revealed various sheep are close relatives.
Although considered a national treasure of China with the highest legal protection, the Sichuan takin is threatened by ongoing poaching and habitat destruction. Due to the inaccessibility of the takin’s mountainous habitat, a reliable count of the species has not been fully undertaken, but it may have indirectly benefited from the protections accorded to the giant panda and other species.
For (semi-regular) updates, head over to my Facebook art page, Bird In Hand Studio [Ren Burke], the Species Project Tumblr blog, or my Twitter page to see the latest subject of the Species Project.