Himalayan yak facing threat of climate change

  • The Himalayan yak (Bos mutus) is a large wild bovid native to the Himalayas.
  • It is the lifeline of pastoral nomads in high altitudes of the Indian Himalayan region.
  • Yaks provide nomads milk, fiber and meat.
  • The long hair of yak has water-resistant properties and can be a good packing material.
  • According to IUCN Red list the yak is in the vulnerable category.
  • It is facing the threat of gradually rising temperatures in the region.
  • Yak is accustomed to very cold temperatures and can survive up to minus 40 degrees but finds is difficult when the temperature crosses 13 degrees.
  • Yak is susceptible to heat stress as it can efficiently conserve its body heat during cold weather conditions but has minimal body mechanism to dissipate heat by way of sweating.
  • Yak rearing needs to be preserved as this is the only source of livelihood for nomads.
  • Yak rearing is an eco-friendly livelihood for nomads who migrate to higher altitudes during summer and return to lower altitudes at about 3000 meters above sea level during winters.
  • In addition to climate-related factors, there is a reduction in grazing areas and degradation of pasturelands due to various developmental activities as well.


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