Yak the “Grunting Ox”: Facts at a Glance
There are two types of Yak: domestic and wild. Domestic Yaks are smaller, have a less shaggy coat, and probably originated from wild Tibetan Yak. Domestic Yaks are used for travel and as draft animals. Yaks are valuable for their milk, meat, wool, and dung. The wild Yak is threatened by loss of habitat and over hunting. Their current status is “vulnerable.” The male wild Yak can weigh up to 2200 pounds and is 6.5 feet high at the shoulder.
Where Yak are Found?
Wild Yaks are found primarily in northern Tibet and western Qinghai, with some populations extending into the southernmost parts of Xinjiang, ladakh in India, Sichuan, Nepal and Bhutan.
Image source: www.nationalgeographic.com
Image of Wild Yak:
Image source www.fao.org
Image of Domestic Yak
Image source: www.fao.org
(A Tibetan woman milking the female Yak)
Facts at a Glance:
1. There are two types of Yak: domestic and wild. Domestic Yaks are smaller as compare to wild Yak.
2. Wild Yaks are found primarily in northern Tibet and western Qinghai, with some populations extending into the southernmost parts of Xinjiang, and ladakh in India and Huanglong, Sichuan, Nepal and Bhutan.
3. Domestic Yaks are used for travel and as craft animals. They are also valuable for their milk, meat, wool, and dung. Domestic Yaks are more varied in colors than wild Yak.
4. The udder (Mammary gland of bovids) in female and the scrotum in male is small and hairy, as protection against the cold.
5. Yak is naturally comfortable with high altitudes. Their larger lungs and heart effectively help in transporting oxygen through its blood.
6. The wild Yak is threatened by loss of habitat and over hunting. Their current status is “vulnerable.”
7. The weight of male Yak can be up to 2200 pounds and height is 6.5 feet at the shoulder. Females weigh about a third of that.
8. Wild Yak lives in alpine meadows and on the steppes in Asia. They live at the highest altitude of any mammal.
9. They graze on grasses, herbs, moss, lichens, and tubers. In the winter wild Yak can crunch ice or snow for water.
10. Yaks have a cleft or split hoof, which makes them agile over rocky or icy ground.
11. Yaks possess great lung capacity so they can absorb more oxygen. Their digestive system is also designed to keep them warm.
12. In winter a wild Yak can survive temperatures as low as - 40 degrees (F).
13. A wild Yak reaches its full size between 6 to 8 years.
14. In wild Yaks, births usually occur in June and a single calf is born every year.
15. Dried Yak dung is used as fuel in the treeless Tibetan plateaus.
16. The Sherpas of Nepal call the males of the species “Yak” and the females “Nak,” or “Dri.”
17. Body of Yak is covered with thick, wooly coat. It can be brown, black or white in color. Main purpose of the fur is preservation of the body heat and protection against low outer temperatures.
18. Yaks are herbivores (plant-eaters). They graze grass, lichens, moss and eat tubers.
19. Just like other cows, Yak spends a lot of time in re-chewing its food before final swallowing.
20. During the winter, Yaks use their long horns to shovel through the snow in order to find plants located beneath it.
21. Yak uses their horns for the protection against the predators. Main predators of Yaks are Tibetan wolves.
22. Mating season of Yaks is September. Pregnancy lasts 9 months and ends with one baby.
23. Although young Yak becomes independent early in its life, it will reach the size of adult animal 6 to 8 years after birth.
24. Wild Yak can survive up to 20 years in the wild. Domesticated Yak can survive few years longer.
25. A Yak has more than one stomach, which it used to absorb all the nutrients from the plants it eats.