Yaks (Bos grunniens and Bos mutus) sightings are common in Himalaya. For many generations, inhabitants of high-altitude regions; Karakorum, Tibet, Mustang, Everest, have been using Yaks' Milk for sustenance (few other using its meat for a meal).
The experts suggest yaks are similar to American Bison than to the other members of its designated genus,i.e. Cattles. Some Yaks in the wild could weigh a ton, making it a huge and dangerous animal.
People in Northern Nepal have been using yaks to carry loads; salt and other edible products, for trade since primitive times. Eric Valli's film "Caravan" shows how they've been used for the variety of transports.
The boom in tourism of Khumbu valley and the heavy influx of trekkers motivated many Sherpa guides and porters to employ domesticated Yaks in great numbers to carry heavy loads up to Everest base camp.
One can enjoy observing the "Beasts of Burden" in one of the Everest treks.
# 10 Fascinating Facts about Yak
- The experts suggest yaks are similar to American Bison than to the other members of its designated genus,i.e. Cattles.
- Wild Yak adult can stand 5.2-7.2 feet tall and weigh about 670–2,200 lb.
- The udder in females and the scrotum in the male are small and hairy, acts as a protection against the cold. Female Yaks are found to have 4 teats.
- Yak is naturally adapted to high altitudes, their larger lungs and heart effectively helping in transporting oxygen through its blood.
- When properly maintained in pastures or paddocks with adequate access to forage and water, Yak and its manure have little or no detectable odour. Yak's wool is naturally odour-resistant.
- The yak may live in domestication or captivity for more than 20 years.
- Through its sweat, Yak secretes a sticky substance that helps keep it's under-hair matted and acts as extra insulation. In traditional Nepalese medicines the secretion is also used.
- Female yak generally gives birth at three or four years of age for the first time, and at about six years hits its highest reproductive stage.
- The ' Yak Racing ' is prevalent at traditional festivals in parts of Tibet and Karakorum.
- The domestic cattle are crossbred with yaks in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia. This gives rise to both the infertile male ' Dzo ' and fertile females known as ' dzomo ' or ' Zhom, ' which may be crossed with cattle again.