Yak Bos mutus (Przewalski, 1883)


English: Yak; French: Yak; Ladakhi: Yak; Punjabi: Kuch-gau; Mongol: Samlag; Tibetan: Yakha, Dong, Brong-dong.

Former distribution: From the Karakorum south-Ladakh, north to Xizang (Tibet), Gansu, Qinhai in China, southern Mongolia west to the Tarim and Turkestan.
Present distribution: Xizang plateau (Tibet) and adjacent highlands, north to the Astin Tagh Mountains, east to the Gansu-Qinhai border; probably also in some remote areas of Nepal and Sikkim, Ladakh and Kashmir.
Behaviour: Preferred habitat: alpine tundra at altitudes of between 4000 and 5000 m; live gregariously in big herds, feeding on grasses and tundra plants; activity diurnal. Predators include wolves, bears.
Population status: Vulnerable. Estimated numbers: No records, but increasing (pers. comm. OSSVALD 1987).
Brief notes:
Body weight: 600-800 kg
Head and body length: 320-350 cm
Tail length: 75-85 cm
Shoulder height: 170-200 cm
Gestation period: 258 days
Maximum age: No records
Trophy: Record RW’s: 40″, 1913 China Kuenlun Mt., A.P. CAREY; average 25″.
Hunting methods: Formerly on horseback, stalking. Now protected by law.
Remarks: Yaks have been domesticated and successfully crossbred with cattle and are important for the nomads of Nepal, Kashmir, Sikkim, Tibet and Mongolia; populations are increasing in China. The decrease was due to uncontrolled hunting and grazing competition with domestic livestock.