Yak (Bos mutus)

Captive yak, Gannan, Gansu, China (Jiang Hu)

Behaviour and ecology

Yak primarily feeds on grasses and sedges.1They are gregarious animals, often aggregating into groups of > 100 individuals, although smaller groups of 10–20 are also common. Adult males often travel with females and young, although older males will often form small groups of 2–5, and travel separately from maternal herds.1 Yaks breed during summer, with females having 1–4 oestrous cycles of about 20 days each.12 About 75% of female yaks conceive during the first oestrous cycle.12 Wild yak are at serious risks of disease transmission from domestic yaks which associate with domestic cattle.12

Did you know?

  • The yak and the American bison probably share a common ancestor.12
  • In 2009, there were 14 million domestic yak worldwide, but only an estimated 15,000 wild yak still live on the Tibetan plateau.12  

Additional information