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The Yaks of Nepal and the Himalayans

Tibetan Yaks are mammals that are native to Tibet and the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal but can adapt to different terrains. Yaks are mainly found in high altitudes because of the thick shaggy coat that they have and their inability to fend off a lot of diseases that are normally found in warmer climates. Yaks can go as high as 20,000 feet but cannot go below 10,000 feet above sea level so their terrain is very specific.

Yaks are large bovids that can weigh as much as 550 kg’s or approximately 1,200 pounds, which makes them very useful especially during the well-known Trans-Himalayan trade that took place between Nepal and Tibet. Although they look very similar to domestic cattle family they are differentiated by their very long hair and tail, which looks similar to a horse because they stand six feet tall at the shoulder. Yaks are sure-footed animals that can travel over dangerous snow covered grounds easily while carrying as much as 100 kgs, and they are also excellent swimmers and are often used for agricultural purposed by local farmers for plowing fields.

As a domesticated animal, Yaks also provide clothing, milk, fiber, butter, meat that is low in cholesterol and nutritional support very similar to that of the bovine. The bones and horns of Yaks are used as ornaments for the roofs of houses or displayed above doorways and entrances to homes and other buildings. Even the blood of the Yak is used as a form of medicine by indigenous peoples whom believe that Yak blood can cure an array of diseases. As a textile, and due to the unusual length of Yaks fur, their hair is used in a number of consumer products such as sacks, tents, blankets and ropes.

Generally Yaks are categorized in five different varieties of color ranging from a golden blond to pitch black, and with the lighter colors associated more with domesticated Yaks. Male and female Yaks both have large, curved horns that can grow as long as forty inches. They are well adapted to high altitudes as they have a slower rate of respiration then other animals due to the larger amount of red blood cells that they have to take in oxygen. The Yaks of Nepal and the Himalayas enjoy eating lichen, grass and a variety of other plants that are found in these harsh landscapes.


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