On our way up the winding mountain road to Bumthang, we came across a herd of yaks led by a zhop (herder). There are more than 37,000 of these endangered animals in Bhutan. Since they cannot survive below 10,000 feet, they are found at higher altitudes. They have a special hemoglobin in their blood that helps them adapt to higher altitudes. As I have seen up close and personal, they are very large animals. Some males stand nearly six feet tall and can weigh over a ton!
Yaks provide food for Bhutan in the way of milk, milk products and meat. Their hair is used for garments and tent shelter. Pack yaks are an important means of transport in mountainous terrains. Also, yak dung is the only source of fuel in summer pastures above the tree line. In recent years, yaks are increasingly being used in the high altitude trekking tourism industry.
Saigon LOVE to all, Lisa