The Himalayan yak has recently earned the food animal tag from the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). The categorisation is expected to help check the decline in the population of the high-altitude bovine by making it a part of the conventional milk and meat industry.

 

About the ‘Himalayan Yak’

  • Yaks belong to the genus Bos and are therefore related to cattle (Bos primigenius species).
  • Domestic Yak (Bos Grunniens) descended from the wild yak (Bos mutus).
  • Distribution —
    • Yak is found throughout the Himalayan region — Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, North Bengal, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir — while wild Yak is found in Tibet.
    • It is also found as far north as Mongolia and Russia.
  • National Research Centre on Yak — The Government of India established the ICAR-National Research Centre on Yak, in 1989 at Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh as a dedicated centre for research into yak husbandry.
  • Yak Census 2019 —
    • According to a census carried out in 2019, India has some 58,000 yaks – a drop of about 25% from the livestock census of 2012.
    • The drastic decline could be attributed to less remuneration from the bovid and discouraging the younger generations from continuing with nomadic yak rearing.
    • The sale of yak milk and meat is limited to local consumers.