IUCN conservation status
Essential and precious animals in Tibet, yaks are built to withstand the harsh climate of the world's highest mountains.
Undiscriminating, they're Content with Whatever's Available
Because of the scarcity of food in their habitat, their diet is not very specific. At high altitudes, yaks consume moss and lichen, whereas, in the valleys, they enjoy the various plants that grow at these altitudes as well. Their raspy tongue is very useful for collecting lichen embedded between rocks.
Companions for Tibetan Nomads, Yak Means "Grunting Ox".
Muscular and enduring, yaks can travel long distances to find food. At other times, they prefer to minimize their movements in order to conserve their energy. Their dense fur, lined with an insulating woolly layer, allows them to withstand temperatures of -40 degrees Celcius.
Herd Life, with Up to Several Hundred Individuals
Yaks are gregarious animals: by grouping together, they can huddle close to each other in order to keep warm during winter storms. Their only known predator is the wolf. A herd consists mainly of females and their young, with males gravitating around them.
Despite the abundance of Domestic Yaks, the Species is Vulnerable in the Wild
It's estimated that there are between 7,500 and 10,000 individuals in the wild. The domestication of this bovine has produced numerous breeds, numbered at almost 12 million. In addition to wool, which is harvested for clothing and blankets, their milk and meat are also consumed. Their dried dung is used as fuel.