Management of social behaviour of domestic yaks in Manang, Nepal: An Etho-Ethnographic Study
Pilleboue Emma, Herbrich Maxime, Sueur Cédric
The domestic yak, a type of cattle native to the Himalayan region and Siberia, is known for its ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions at high altitudes and is primarily domesticated for its milk, wool, and meat. Most of the research on yaks has been conducted in China, where approximately 94% of the total estimated yak population can be found. In this study, the authors conducted an ethology study on the social behaviour of yaks in the Annapurna Valley of Nepal, where they are raised for their milk, wool, and meat and are also used for transportation. The authors used ethnographic inquiries to gather data on the social behaviour of yaks and the coping strategies used by herders to manage them. They also equipped cattle with one Actigraph wgt3x-BT to measure activity using an accelerometer and spatial associations using a proximity recorder. They found that yaks in both herds exhibited cohesive and synchronized behaviour, with similar activity patterns during the day and a peak of activity at night. They also observed that yaks in the first herd were more reactive to the presence of humans, while those in the second herd were more reactive to the presence of other yaks. The authors suggest that these differences in behaviour may be due to the different herding management practices used in each herd.