Chinese researchers are promoting a new breed of domestic yaks that have a mild temperament and could better adapt to harsh plateau weather to help plateau herders raise income.
The Ashidan yak is a new breed developed by researchers at the Lanzhou Institute of Husbandry and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
The breed passed appraisal by an experts' panel and was accredited as a new breed, said Yan Ping, deputy director of the institute.
"The Ashidan yaks have a mild temperament and are stress-resistant. They can not only adapt to the traditional type of cage-free herding, but also adapt to drylot feeding, meeting the diverse needs of herders," she said.
Ethnic Tibetans use yak for food, clothing, labor and transport. "Yaks are a major source of income for the Tibetans, but the problem is that even domestic yaks can be rather wild," she said.
"They are also susceptible to seasonal changes. Snowstorms in winter can cause great loss to herders. A lot of yaks lose weight or die in extreme weather," she said.
Researchers asked herders and firms in Qinghai and Gansu provinces to raise close to 4,000 male yaks. Under the same breeding circumstances, the survival rate of the Ashidan yaks is 11.72 percent higher than local yaks, and the death rate is down by 4.32 percent, Yan said.
The Ashidan yaks gain weight more quickly than ordinary breeds of yaks, which can substantially help with poverty relief efforts in the ethnic areas, she added.
The yaks are also expected to have less impact on the fragile plateau environment because herders need less grassland space to raise them, she said.
It took researchers over 20 years to cultivate the new breed, Yan said.
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