WILD YAK/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus



DESCRIPTION: Thickset and shaggy cattle of the mountains, yaks have been domesticated across most of their range. In comparison to its domestic cousins, the Dzo, the Wild Yak is a massive animal with dark blackish brown fur that in males falls from the chest and flanks like a woollen skirt over its legs. A silvery grey dorsal line behind the withers is also reported in the Wild Yak. The Wild Yak has no dewlap like the Gaur, but has a dorsal ridge from neck to back. The ears are small, the muzzle is naked and grey, and the tail is thick, long and as shaggy as the coat. Both sexes have grey–black horns, but those of the males are thicker and sweep outwards and forwards while those of the female are narrower and straighter. The female is only slightly greyer than males but is one-third the size of an adult male and, therefore, can be easily told apart. Its young are dark brown, with calves being a third of the adult female body size and a yearling half the body size.
BEHAVIOUR: Although a type of cattle, the Wild Yak is behaviourally akin to the Wild Bison of America. During the rut, the male yak behaves differently from its close relatives, the Gaur and Banteng. It often wallows in mud during the rut – a bison or buffalo characteristic. It also grunts hoarsely and grinds its teeth – a habit unique to the yak. It has few sweat glands and thus needs to constantly cool off. It is often seen standing in icy rivers even in winter!
DISTRIBUTION: Only in Ladakh in a few small populations. Not recorded from Sikkim and other trans-Himalayan areas of India.
HABITAT: Mountain pastures in cold deserts, alpine tundras.

Size: 170–380 cm,

Wt: 300–1,000

IUCN Status: Vulnerable 


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