Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yaks: page dedicated to yaks

They're not llamas, they're not camels, they're not large hairy goats...they're yaks! What are yaks? "Yaks are the coolest cattle on the planet!"
Yak related Terms:
Boa: male yak
Yak: a castrated male yak
Nak or Dri: a female (cow) yak
Khainag (or Dzo [male] and Dzomo [female]): hybrid resulting from yak-cow cross.
Dimjo (or Dim-dzo): hybrid with yak dam
Urang: hybrid wigh cattle dam
Ortoom: backcross of female khainag with cattle or yak bulls.
Usanguzee: animal resulting from further backcrossing of ortoom females to cattle or yak bulls.
Yak Science:
Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Mammalia ;Order: Artiodactyla; Family: Bovidae; Subfamily: Bovinae Genus: Bos [ox]; Species: grunniens [grunting] (domestic), mutus (wild)
Introduction:
Yaks thrive at altitudes ranging between 10,000 and 20,000 feet. They have adapted genetically to high elevations, and do not experience the symptoms of hypoxia (altitude illness). Yaks can deliver sufficient quantities of oxygen to the brain and muscles in low-oxygen environments. This is because yaks have three times the number of red blood cells, and a higher concentration of hemoglobin than other cattle normally living in lower elevations. Yaks also have larger lungs relative to their body size, and even have an extra pair of ribs to house them - yaks have 14 ribs pairs compared to 12 in cattle. Complex muscles surrounding the chest cavity enables yaks to breathe deeply and rapidly which sounds like the chugging of a locomotive. Tibetan sherpas have claimed that yaks living in high altitudes descending to lower altitudes experience "low altitude" sickness. This illness is more likely due to exposure to lowland cattle diseases and parasites not common at high elevations.
Not only can yaks breathe well in the high altitudes of the Himalayas, but they can also withstand the frigid temperatures which can drop below -40° F. Yaks are protected by their thick, wooly undercoat, long fur, and outer fatty layer which insulates their body.
Yak Hybrid:
Yaks are very similar to cows. They share the same genus but are a different species. Yaks can cross-breed with cows and form an offspring called a hybrid. However, yak-cow hybrids follow "Haldane's Rule" which states, "When in the F1 offspring of two different animal races one sex is absent, rare, or sterile, that sex is the heterozygous [heterogametic] sex." In other words, the male hybrids are sterile. Female yak-cow hybrids are fertile.
There are at least 124 different combinations of yak-cattle hybrids in Nepal alone.

Yak Uses:
a)Food Production
Milk:Yak milk is golden in color and very rich in fat at 7-8%. It has a sweetish taste.Milk production from yaks is seasonal. Hybrid yaks tend to yield more milk.Milk can be rendered into powder, butter, yogurt, cheese, and Kurut.Kurut is made from curdled milk which is churned, boiled and then drained.The cream from yak milk, called Kaimak, thick, sweet, and yellow with a flavor like almonds.Yak cheese is a hard, Swiss style cheese that fetches high prices in Kathmandu.Tea is made with yak milk and is a staple part of the diet of Tibetan yak herders. Milk is also added to mushrooms to make a milk-mushroom stew.Butter is the principal product from yak milk. It is a staple food for herdsmen and locals. Tea can be made from butter.
-Meat: Yak meat is beef-like, but more delicate in flavor, contains no marbling because the yak is a cold climate animal, and the fat is located around the outside of the body.In the United States yak meat is becoming more popular in restaurants. The fat content of yak meat is low (3.8%, 1/16th the fat of beef).The cholesterol level is under 50.Yak meat is high in protein (22.95%), and has less calories than beef or chicken breast!In Central Asia yak meat is dried, or deep frozen in natures own freezer, for storage and portability.
-Blood: Blood drained from a yak is drunk for medicinal purposes in Central Asia. It is also used to make sausage, and can be dried to make a high protein blood meal for animal feeds. Yak blood is 18.5% protein.
b) Hide, Hair, and Bone:
Wool: Yaks have a thick wooly layer under their long fur which they molt every spring. A single yak can produce 1 - 1½ lbs. of wool per year. This wool is comparable to Cashmere and is spun into yarn to make clothes, blankets, mats, and fabrics. " Wooly" yaks are a variation that have more wool and hair than other yaks.
-Hair: The hair covering the bottom half of the yak, called the skirt, can be more than a foot long. It is used to make rope, sacks, blankets, clothing and tents.
-Tail: The tail of a yak is a luxuriant bush of long hair very much like a horse's tail, and not like the long, bony tails of ordinary cattle with only a tuft of hair at the end. Yak tails are used as religious offerings, ornaments, fly whisks, dusters, and in Hindu and Buddhist rituals.Yaks hold their tails erect when galloping.
-Hide: The tough, thick hide of a yak is used to make a variety of leather products including boots, storage bags, belts, saddles, and straps.
-Horns: Yak horns are used for decoration, and when hollowed, they can be used as bugles.
-Bone:Tibetans use yak bone to make ornaments and objects such as combs and buttons. Yak bone is also rendered into bone meal and glue and is used in foods and medicine.
-Bezoar:Bezoar stones are an unusual yak product. They are produced in the gall bladder naturally, or by introducing a small, hollow plastic ball which is inserted into the gall bladder surgically by herdsmen. The ball stays in the gall bladder for two years to allow an accreted buildup then it is removed again by surgical means. Bezoar stones are sold as Chinese medicine.
c)Work:
Riding Yaks are widely ridden like horses in Central Asia.

d)Transport/Packing:
Known as "ships of the plateau" pack strings of yaks are used to transport loads of up to 220 lbs. across the Himalayan passes. For many centuries yaks were the only means by which trade between Nepal and Tibet was possible. Annual yak caravans still make their way up these mighty mountains to trade grains from the lowlands for salt from the high plateaus. Yaks are very nimble and sure-footed, able to traverse steep rock and snow covered slopes.
Yaks are excellent for use on the trail. They can pack up to 150 pounds at two years of age. They are extremely sure footed and easy on the trails and surrounding countryside. They can go places that horses usually cannot.
Draught: Yaks are harnessed and used to plow fields.
-Energy Production :
Dung: Since trees are very scarce on the Tibetan Plateau, yak dung is the major source of fuel. Yak dung is collected and dried. It burns just like wood and is used for cooking and heat. However, it is unavoidable to breathe the smoke emitted by the burning dung which is harmful to the throat and lungs. Yak dung is used to build 'yurts' - native huts or houses.

Yak dung, skacked
[Yak] dung smells cleaner and sweeter than domestic cattle dung because it lives only on wild grasses." -Yang Matai, head of Tibet's agriculture bureau.
-Butter and fat: The fat and butter from yaks are burned as a light source such as a candle or lamp.

Circus:There is a "Yak Act" and it's found in the Mongolian State Circus and Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus!

Mangolian Yak Circus

Zoo:Yaks are located in many zoos throughout the world

More Photographs of yaks
http://picasaweb.google.com/sonamsan/AlbumDedicatedToYaks

Reference:

Star sun moon
The yak, Second Edition
Tame yaks, wild yaks, A yak caravan In the himalayas
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus
Mongolian State Circus
World Tibet Network News: Tibet's Yaks, Treasure on roof of world(reuter)

1 comment:

Lhakpa Sonam said...

Jungali yak lai pahile Dong bancha ra teslai domesticated gare pachi matra yak ho jasto lagyo. Mo wrong rahecha bane agyani samji maf garnuhola.