There are approximately 12 million yaks in China which is about 85%of the world total making China the leader for Yaks.
Yaks are located mainly in the high, cold mountainous areas of China.
Yaks can graze on the alpine grasslands in the summer and duringwinter on the shrubs in deep snow in rigorous temperatures. The yak loosesweight during the winter but recovers and gains weight rapidly with thecoming of spring grass.
The yak's long coarse hair acts as insulation for their body. Theanimals also grow a dense woolen undercoat for winter protection.
Research workers claim there are three types of yak in China. Theyare:
- Valley: mainly distributed inthe valleys of North and East Tibet, as well as in some parts of Sichuanand Yuman provinces. An example is the Jiulang.
- Plateau Grassland: mainly distributedin the high, cold pastures and steppes, with an annual mean temperaturebelow 2 degrees Celsius. Examples are the Maiwa and Luqu.
- White Yak: found in almost every region of district. An example isthe Tianzhu White Yak.
WorkYaks are mainly used for packing in transport; they may travel 20-30 kmper day with a load of 130 lbs. on the high, cold, steep mountainous paths.This gives them the reputation of the "Ships of the Plateau".
Meat ProductionThey have a dressing percent of 45-54%. Yak meat, from either white orblack yaks, has a special flavor and if adequately processed and canned,it is much appreciated in China and as an export.
Milk ProductionMilk is of economic importance in yak raising. Milk generally starts 10-15days after calving, which occurs in April and May, then continues for 5months until winter comes. Production is highest in July, when grass isabundant and nutritious, then declines as the grass dries off graduallybefore or in October.
Reference: Cheng. P. (1984) Livestock breeds of China. Animal Production andHealth Paper 46 (E, F, S). Publ. by FAO,Rome, 217 pp.
Added April 26, 1996