Bos grunniensThe Yak


As an animal whose habitat is the isolated Himalayas, the domesticated does not come in contact with too many other organisms, but there are definitely some worth mentioning.
There are of course, the organisms that the yak feeds on that you read about on the Nutrition page. This includes wild flowers, mosses, lichens, and grasses. There are also a few animals that the wil yak gets along with, the Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan argali, blue sheep, and the Tibetan antelope.
While the yak may be the predator to the organisms above, the yak is sometimes the prey. The Tibetan Wolf and the Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) have been known to prey upon yaks in the wild. The yak has horns to defend itself with, but both the wolf and leopard are very skilled carnivores and are equip with both claws and sharp teeth. The domesticated yak may also have some interactions with the wild yak, Bos mutus that you can read about on that page. Just like us in the summer months, yaks themselves can be annoyed by the mosquito, even in the high mountain regions.
One other interesting organism that the yak interacts with actually lives inside of it. As you read on the Adaptation page, yaks have a rumen that helps the yak successfully absorb all the nutrients in the food it eats. This stomach, just like ours contains bacteria to help with the digestion process. One of these kinds of bacteria found in animals with a rumen is Lactobacillus bulgaricus, a bacteria that is actually used in the making and found in yogurt. It is found in the stomach to help break down lactose.

Yaks have also had a very long history with humans. People living on the Tibetan Plateau have been raising yaks for 4,000 years and hunting them for even more. Wild yaks are slightly more aggressive than domesticated yaks, and have been known to attack villages. Domesticated yaks, however, provide many resources to the people who have chosen to live in such seclusion. Yaks can provide milk, butter, cheese, fur, hides, and dung for fuel. Sometimes yaks help with plowing fields for farmers who do try to grow crops in this environment. Yaks can also be used as pack and transportion animals. Yaks adapted to live in a mountainous environment and so they are very sure footed. This makes them great to travel through the terrain with and they can bear very heavy loads as well. They have become a significant part of the culture there.
Find out how people use the yak for Food, or see how the yak Reproduces.