Yaks are bovids adapted to life at high altitudes in the Himalayas. Most yaks are domesticated but there is some small wild population.


Domestic yaks (Bos mutus grunniens) grazing in the Toronto Zoo Eurasia exhibit.

Yaks are very well adapted to living in a high altitude. The adaptations are similar to the ones show by humans in the same area, but different from what the llamas exhibit. Yak blood can transport oxygen more efficiently than the blood of normal cattle. Yaks also can tolerate cold much better than other bovines but they cannot tolerate higher temperatures too well.


Yaks are the most important domestic animals in Tibet used for riding, and as beasts of burden. Yak meat, yak milk and butter are important food sources. Yak wool is used as fiber for clothing. Yak butter and yak butter tea are particularly important food sources for humans who wish to survive the harsh conditions living at high altitudes in the Himalayas.

Further Readings:

Last updated: September 28, 2014

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.