SRINAGAR: Yak Husbandry in Ladakh’s Leh district is expected to get a shot in the arm with the authorities planning to go for Breed Improvement of the domesticated animal.
This fiscal, the local unit of the Animal Husbandry Department will acquire semen of the high-quality yak from the Arunachal Pradesh-based National Research Centre on Yak (NRCY).
The semen would subsequently be used for Artificial Insemination of the female yaks in Leh to produce high-yielding varieties of the animal.
The formalities for the Breed Improvement have been done with already while the execution of the plan is likely to begin in the coming months.
“One of the most reliable pack animals for this high-altitude desert has been yak, but its present stock in the region has been due to inbreeding alone,” Dr Abdul Qayum, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer Leh, told Kashmir Reader on Monday.
“The department now intends to introduce fresh blood into this animal by procuring yak semen from NRCY Arunachal Pradesh.”
Yak is the only bovine animal that survives on the mountains at and above the altitude of 2500 to 6000 metres above sea level. Its habitat must essentially be a low temperature zone.
In Ladakh region, yak herders take their cattle to pastures on higher altitudes for grazing. Apart from milk, the animal also provides fine wool.
With its physique, yak can trek up the steep slopes and can survive on low forages moss, lichens, and snow-covered shoots of grasses. It can fulfill its water requirements with ice melt water.
The yak belts in Ladakh are Durbok, Tyansyar , Digger Wala Photokar, Giamiru along with Changthang area.
Over the years, Yak Safari has become a tourist attraction in the region, with tourists riding the animal to explore several rugged areas.
According to Qayum, present population of yak in Leh is about 20,000.
“The aim behind this initiative of Breed Improvement is to improve size of yak and the quality of its wool and milk,” he said.
Besides utilizing the imported semen for Breed Improvement, the Department, he said, will choose “finest” Yak in Leh for inclusion in the Artificial Insemination drive.
“Our breeds too are of superior class, but there is scope for improvement,” he said.