Scientific name: Bos grunniens

Yaks are cattle which live in the high peaks of central Asia, in herds mainly composed of females. The horns are found in both sexes, though those of the females are considerably smaller and shorter. They gallop with their tails held erect and are quickly out of breath.
It is a massive animal, can lift heavy loads and is still used to pull farm machinery. Tibetan civilisation depends largely of his breeding.
The wilds species (Bos mutus) is endangered, with less than 10 000 individuals, which live from an elevation of 3200 to more than 6000 m.

Did you know?

Used for traditional medicine in Nepal

Wild yak can easily live in temperatures of -40° C due to their dense coats and the secretion of a viscous substance that acts as an insulator to cold. This substance is used in traditional medicine in Nepal.

Key figures

  • Length: up to 3.25 m
  • Height: up to 2.0 m at the shoulders
  • Weight: up to 580 kg
  • Horns measure from 65 to 102 cm
  • Gestation period: 9 months
  • Life expectancy: 20 years

Linking humans and animals

A walking survival kit

Tibetan nomadic shepherds use the domestic yak for a lot of things. They provide milk, meat and leather, but the yak has more than just one trick up his sleeve! One of its more surprising particularities is its dung. It's the principal source of fuel for shepherds: one yak patty could power a computer.