People on their first visit to Bhutan are often bewildered at the sight of the Takin, which looks like a curious combination of the goat and cow. They possess the face of a goat, and the body of a cow, and that is what gives them their unique appearance. The national animal of Bhutan, it can be seen in all its distinct beauty at the Motithang Takin Preserve, located in the district of Motithang in Bhutan.

The story behind the creation of the Motithang Takin Preserve, counted among the most famous tourist attractions in Bhutan, is a fascinating one. The takin which are seen in the preserve today, were once kept in a small zoo. The King of Bhutan was troubled by their captivity, since he believed that it was immoral for a Buddhist country to do so. He ordered the closure of the zoo and the release of the animals. Much to everybody’s surprise, they refused to leave the territory they were used to. It was then decided to build a habitat for them, and that is how the Motithang Takin Preserve came into being.

There is also an interesting legend behind how this fascinating mammal came into being. According to a particular local legend, a saint in the 15th century brought it into existence in exchange for lunch. He followed this by placing the head of a goat on a cow’s skeleton before bringing him to life.

Today, the Takin seen in the preserve are a special source of attraction for tourists. The preserve itself is spread across 8.4 acres and large areas of it are marked by alpine meadows.

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