Five yak calves at Whipsnade
Thursday 30 March 2000
FIVE YAK CALVES AT WHIPSNADE
Mother's Day is being celebrated early this year with some rather unusual arrivals - five wild yak calves. The two male and three female youngsters - born between 3 and 19 March - are already standing on their own four hoofs and exploring the expansive Passage Through Asia in the company of camels, deers and antelope.
The majority of the world's population of yak are the domestic yak found in China and Tibet. In these countries they are the equivalent of our own domestic cattle, playing a vital role in the economy of the people who live there. The yak at Whipsnade, however, are the much rarer wild yak. They have long, shaggy blackish-brown coats, short legs, drooping heads, humped shoulders and horns in both male and female. Yak are among the hardiest of cattle and have the amazing ability to ferment food in their stomaches, keeping it at a temperature of 40 degrees centigrade, which acts as a central heating system in cold climates.
Once roaming the desolate uplands of Central Asia in their thousands, the wild yak is now a rare and seldom-seen animal, due to overhunting. The latest youngsters are a real boost for the Park, a valuable contribution to the on-going breeding programme for this species.
For further information/photography, please contact:
Susan Wilks/Amy Hayward/Anna Hitchens
RPPR T: 020 7460 7000
Whipsnade Wild Animal Park T: 01582 872 171
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