In connexion with this point it should be noticed that, unlike what occurs in the yak, the wild animal is not larger than the tame one, although it is incorrect to say that the former is decidedly the inferior of the latter in point of stature.
The horned cattle include the humped oxen and buffaloes of India, and the yak of Tibet.
A hybrid between the yak and Indian cattle, called zo, is commonly reared in Tibet and the Himalaya.
YAK, the wild (and domesticated) ox of the Tibetan plateau; a species nearly allied to the bison group. The yak, Bos (POephagus) grunniens, is one of the finest and largest of the wild oxen, characterized by the growth of long shaggy hair on the flanks and under parts of the body and the well-known bushy tail.
In Europe a false impression of the yak is prevalent, owing to the fact that all the specimens imported have belonged either to a small domesticated breed from Darjiling, or to half-breeds; the latter being generally black and white, instead of the uniform Domesticated Yak, Bos (Poephagus) grunniens.
But even these are inferior to the wild yak, which stands nearly 6 ft.
Yak have the great disadvantage that they will not eat corn, and the large pure-bred animals will not live at low elevations.
The best known have all been made into stage-plays, and it is in this form that they usually come before the notice of the general public. Amongst them are Ramakien, taken from the great Hindu epic Ramayana; Wetyasunyin, the tale of a king who became an ascetic after contemplation of a withered tree; Worawongs, the story of a prince who loved a princess and was killed by the thrust of a magic spear which guarded her; Chalawan, the tale of a princess beloved by a crocodile; Unarud, the life story of Anuruddha, a demigod, the grandson of Krishna; Phumhon, the tale of a princess beloved by an elephant; Prang tong, a story of a princess who before birth was promised to a "yak" or giant in return for a certain fruit which her mother desired to eat.
Here are to be found yak, wild asses (kyang), several varieties of deer, musk deer and Tibetan antelope (Pantholops); also wild sheep (the bharal of the Himalaya), Ovis hodgsoni and possibly Ovis poli, together with wild goats, bears (in large numbers in the north-eastern districts), leopards, otter, wolves, wild cats, foxes, marmots, squirrels, monkeys and wild dogs.
The yak of Thibet cannot long survive in the plains ofIndia, or even on the hills below a certain altitude; and that this is due to climate, and not to the increased density of the atmosphere, is shown by the fact that the same animal appears to thrive well in Europe, and even breeds there readily.
The fauna of the Tibetan Himalaya is essentially European or rather that of the northern half of the old continent, which region has by zoologists been termed Palaearctic. Among the characteristic animals may be named the yak, from which is reared a cross breed with the ordinary horned cattle of India, many wild sheep, and two antelopes, as well as the musk-deer; several hares and some burrowing animals, including pikas (Lagomys) and two or three species of marmot; certain arctic forms of carnivora - fox, wolf, lynx, ounce, marten and ermine; also wild asses.