Transcript for Tracking a Mythical Beast in China
If like me you are an animal lover, you can find something reasonably cute in pretty much any creature. But tonight we are going in search of a beast that is, by any measure funny looking. In fact looks like created by a committee. What I can say about the golden tachan, it is fascinating and exceedingly rare. Tonight gloria rivera takes us on an incredible trip into the wild. ♪ Reporter: Deep into a remote region of china there is an animal so rare and so bizarre looking it is no wonder they appear in myth and legend. The animal so ancient many believe it inspired "jason and the golden fleece" today something it still has. Super natural powers. They can be brutally aggressive, a sort of prehistoric gladiator, pa but the animal is endangered due to hunting and logging. ♪ the chinese government gave us unusual permission to trek into the nature reserve with a team of rangers and the expert, dr. Li xing. A panda bear of a man who so loves them he smiles at the name. We are lucky to be here. Yeah. Our mission to find them will demand far more than any of us expected. Looking down is when it gets a little bit scary. At this time of year, tachens live at elevation over 10,000 feet. When you look at the tachen they don't look like an agile animal. A little clumz eye. Climbing up and down they must be agile. They look lazy, but actually they are very good climbers. I didn't say stupid. You said they look stupid. I didn't say they look stupid. We are hoping to find them in the high alpine meadows in the distance. It is beautiful. The meadow way up there. The first glimpse. That's where the tachen are. We have a long we to go. After the first day we are not even halfway. Can I go with you? Our summit attempt begins in the dark. It is 5:15. We have 2 1/2 hours of hiking. We have got to go all the way up the ridge. The tachens go to the highest point of the mountains before going into the valley this time of year. Hiking into day break it seems impossible that a country with a pop laegs of over 1.3 billion people and a major pollution problem is also this place. So this valley for hundred maybe thousand of years -- is where the tachen has been. Man more than that. Reporter: More than that? Yeah. Reporter: Amazing, the only place on earth. Wow. Along the trail fresh footprints. Tachens may enjoy an air of misstory when you are trying to find them it is basic. When you are tracking them you spend a lot of time looking for poop. For poops and footprints. Reporter: The best marker right? Yes, right. Reporter: I don't see it. Just push through. That's pretty much what we follow. Until at last -- this is the top of the mountains in the eastern tibetan plateau. It is stunning. It is stunning. Finally below us just close enough to make out we see them. We have come across our first herd of tachen here in the edges of the eastern tibetan plateau. Their coats help them blend into the landscape. Difficult to see them unless you look very closely. Our guide tell us they see 1 tachen behind us. After two days of trekking I am desperate to get closer. The rangers are skeptical. They finally agree, after telling me if one charges i should run in circles. If that is my defense. I might be in trouble. Suddenly there they are, closer to our camera than we could have dreamed. But within second one gives us a stern look. And we scramble away. We are told to stay down and stay silent. But to me the tachen is not odd-looking but perfectly designed. Their coats rugged, gorgeous. Body sturdy and strong. And that head, not bizarre, magnificent. This gaggle of females seems to okay us. There is tension in the air as if they're saying, we are final where we are, don't come closer. We don't see a lot of males. Reporter: No adult males. When an adult male arrives on the scene. He doesn't charge. The females get the message to get going. We do too, taking one last chance to savor the tachen up close. A beast that has been on earth longer than man and a sight worth every step it took to get here. For "nightline," gloria rivera, abc news, on the eastern tibetan plateau, china. Strange-looking but definitely worth protecting. Wild china airs sunday on
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