Genetic proof obtained for Wild Yak rediscovery in Nepal

  • By : resourceshimalaya.org
  • June 7, 2021

Genetic proof obtained for Wild Yak rediscovery in Nepal

Event Date :


Two live individuals of wild yaks Bos mutus were sighted in 2014 from the remote Trans-Himalayan valleys of Upper Humla in north‐western Nepal. This led to the rediscovery of the species in Nepal where it was considered to be regionally extinct for almost five decades. However in the lack of a genetic analysis, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considered the sighting as uncertain and seeks for additional evidence. Mr. Naresh Kusi, coordinator for the Himalayan Wolves Project at Resources Himalaya Foundation, led a research expedition in 2017 in the Trans-Himalayan habitats of Upper Humla, Upper Dolpa and Upper Mustang to collect genetic samples from live individuals and historic specimen of wild and domestic yaks. The study recently published in Ecology and Evolution presents phylogenetic and haplotype network analyses of wild and domestic yak samples and reveals that the wild yaks in Upper Humla, Nepal, share the haplotype with wild yaks from the north‐western region of the Qinghai‐Tibetan Plateau in China. This finding provides genetic evidence for the presence of wild yaks in Nepal. The study highlights the need to protect the wildlife habitats in Trans-Himalayan region particularly the Upper Humla. More importantly, it certainly enables the IUCN to update the wild yak distribution range. 




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