GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The Lee Richardson Zoo reported Tuesday that its staff made the “difficult decision” to euthanize “Louie” the takin last Wednesday due to declining health and quality of life.

Louie was over 15 years old and had been receiving supportive care since he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

The median life expectancy for a male takin is 12.4 years.

“Although staff are sad to see him go, we’re so grateful we had the chance to work with him, and for the eight years he had in Garden City, introducing so many people to his species,” said Animal Care Manager Pablo Holguin.

Takin are large hoofed mammals that are most closely related to sheep and the goat-like aoudad. According to the zoo, they are considered a national treasure in China. Takin are thought to be the source of the “golden fleece” sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Greek mythology.

Takin are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

The Lee Richardson Zoo staff are working with the Takin Species Survival Plan to bring the species back to the zoo sometime next year. Until then, renovations will be underway in the area.