The population of Yak, the long haired friendly bovine found in the Himalayan region, has been undergoing a steep decline. It is to be noted there are about only 65000 yaks in the country. Out of that, 13,000 are found in Arunachal Pradesh. So it was a cause of great concern to see the yak population dwindling. Well not anymore.
The scientists at the National Research Centre on Yak (NRCY) at Dirang now claim that they have been able to bring down the Yak deaths caused by the parasitic Babesiosis disease by around 90%. Also contributing to the same are poor management practices and inbreeding.
The domesticated animal is the main source of livelihood for hundreds of herders, traditionally known as Brokpas. And with the dwindling population, the Brokpa population also went down.
However due to scientific intervention, production of yaks have increased by 10% to 15% in the last five to ten years. Scientific mediation in rearing techniques has not only increased the yak population from 9000-odd in 2003 to over 14,000 now, it has also convinced the Brokpas that they can rear animals without having to constantly move from one place to another.
The NRCY is the country’s only research facility on yaks. And together with Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, brought around 300 yak farmers to a Yak Mela in West Kameng district. The mela is organized every year to encourage yak farmers to adopt more scientific methods of rearing their livestock and expose them to new technologies in animal husbandry.