|Image credit: Pixabay / Simon|
The Tibetan plateau is the roof of the world. Rising three miles into the sky, the air is intolerably thin, water is scarce, and temperatures regularly plummet to –40°F. No trees peep above the rocky, windswept landscape. Even hardy shrubs struggle to survive.To read the rest, click on "Yaks — Living the High Life".
Yet there they are, lots of them—massive hairy yaks munching away on meager scraps of grass and herbs, seemingly oblivious to their impossible situation. Wild males can be over 10 feet (3.25 m) long and tower over 6.5 feet (2 m) at the shoulders; their average weight is around 1 ton (1,000 kg).
With its dense, woolly undercoat and shaggy outer hair coat, the “grunting ox” (Bos grunniens) is well prepared to endure the raging cold that is characteristic of this remote region of Asia. Yaks can easily withstand temperatures of –40 degrees, that numbing condition where the Fahrenheit and Celsius readings are the same... if the thermometer goes that low. They have been seen bathing in lakes and rivers, regardless of the temperature.