Yak in Bhutan


The yak is the dominant livestock species that support livelihoods for pastoralist of the Tibetan plateau and nearby Himalayan regions. The domestic yak (Bos grunniens) is descended from the wild yak . It is a long-haired domesticated bovid found throughout the  Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent as far as Myanmar, Yunnan, Sichuan, upto Mongolia and Siberia.

Yaks are heavily built animals with bulky frames, sturdy legs, rounded, cloven hooves, and extremely dense, long fur that hangs down lower than the belly.

Yak physiology is well adapted to high altitudes, having larger lungs and heart than cattle found at lower altitudes, as well as greater capacity for transporting oxygen through their blood due to the persistence of foetal haemoglobin throughout life. However, yaks have difficulty thriving at lower altitudes,  and are prone to suffering from heat exhaustion above about 15 °C (59 °F). Further adaptations to the cold include a thick layer of subcutaneous fat, and an almost complete lack of functional sweat glands.

The Himalayan tribes, the Bjobs of Western and Brokpa of Eastern Bhutan depend on the yaks  These animals provide their livelihood and economy. Bounded by harsh geographic and climatic conditions, these tribes agricultural practices are merely for subsistence, and
thus the yaks remain indispensable for the survival of the Himalayan tribes.


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