Amazing Wild Yaks
Domesticated thousands of years ago, yaks are common and important animals to the people of the Himalayan countries. They are a vital source of milk, meat, skin and fur, and are useful beasts of burden. However, the wild stock from which these animals were bred are quite different beasts. Both types look like large, shaggy, horned cattle, but Wild Yaks are much larger. There are millions of domestic yaks but perhaps only 10 000 Wild Yaks in existence.
Wild Yaks live in herds of tens to hundreds of animals, grazing the low, sparse vegetation of their habitat. They are very well adapted to freezing temperatures with their thick fur coats. Their enlarged lungs and heart allow them to breathe the thin air of high altitudes. These adaptations mean Wild Yaks cannot thrive in warmer climates.
The reproductive rate of Wild Yaks is low. Females do not start breeding until they are three or four years old, and bear a calf every two years. At night the herds huddle together for warmth, with the calves protected in the centre of the group. Other than humans, the main predator of this species is the Tibetan Wolf.