Scientists have discovered nearly a thousand rare wild yaks in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where previously they were exterminated by hunters, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Half a century ago, in the steppe regions of Tibet grazing many wild yaks, but, as in the case of the buffalo, these large ungulates hunters were shot en masse, and to date, this species is in danger of extinction.
"A team of American and Chinese scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Montana recently discovered nearly a thousand wild yaks in one of the remote regions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Discovery could mean the return of species wiped out in the region because of hunting in the middle of the XX century" — said in a statement.
Scientists have found 990 yaks in the Chinese reserve "Kukushili" — remote, mountainous region in the Northwest of China, whose low temperature due to the presence of 17,000 glaciers, also called the "third pole". The greatest accumulation of animals was observed near the glaciers. Presumably, this can be explained by the fact that the glaciers bordering the rich pastures of alpine meadows.
A number of scientists believe that the total population of wild yak in the world is about 10 thousand. However, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) states that these data require confirmation.
Environmentalists believe that the animal population of the highlands may be increased due to the administration of the Chinese reserve and the local government to preserve biodiversity.
"For millennia, yaks helped people survive in this part of Asia. Cruel irony would be a" reward ", as their extinction in the wild. Thank God, now we have a chance to save their future and to return at least a small part of our duty to them," — are reported words of executive director of WCS program in Asia Uoltsona Joe (Joe Walston).
Scientists note the paucity of information about wild yaks, for example, their reproduction, mortality of calves, as well as the role of wolves in the regulation of the number of these large ungulates.
Wild yak among the three largest Asian mammal after the elephant and rhinoceros. The adults can reach two meters at the shoulder and weigh over a thousand pounds, but due to the isolation and inaccessibility of their habitat, official measurements of height and weight of wild yaks never carried out, the report said.