What is Yak

Discover the fascinating world of yaks – their characteristics, uses, and significance in the Himalayan region. Learn about their role in the socio-economic fabric of local communities.


Yaks are fascinating creatures that are native to the Himalayan region of Asia. They are well-adapted to high altitudes and are used by the local people for a variety of purposes. In this article, we will explore what yaks are, their characteristics, uses, and significance.

Characteristics of Yaks

Yaks are large, long-haired mammals that belong to the bovine family. They have a thick coat of fur that helps them survive in cold climates. Yaks have a hump on their shoulders, which stores fat that provides them with energy during harsh winters. Their horns are curved and can be used for defense against predators.

Uses of Yaks

Yaks have been domesticated for thousands of years and are used by the local people for various purposes. They are used as pack animals to transport goods across the rugged terrain of the Himalayas. Yaks also provide milk, meat, and wool, which are essential for the survival of the people living in the region.

Significance of Yaks

Yaks play a crucial role in the socio-economic fabric of the Himalayan communities. They are considered to be a symbol of wealth and prosperity and are often used as a form of currency. Yaks also have religious significance and are revered by the local people.

Case Studies

One example of the importance of yaks is the Changpa nomads of Ladakh, India. These nomads rely on yaks for their livelihood, using them for transportation, wool, and dairy products. Yaks are an integral part of their culture and identity.


According to the International Yak Association, there are over 14 million yaks worldwide, with the majority of them being found in China, Mongolia, Nepal, and India. Yaks are an important source of income for many rural communities in these countries.

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