Please note: Study breeds require further research to learn whether their history, genetic integrity, global status, and U.S. numbers merit listing on the Conservation Priority List. This step is necessary to clearly target The Livestock Conservancy’s conservation efforts toward breeds that not only require conservation, but can also benefit from our conservation efforts. Breeds in this category are only listed online.
Yaks are Tibetan bovines and were imported to North America in the late 1800s to early 1900s. After more than a century of genetic separation from their cousins in Asia, purebred yaks in America merit investigation as a distinct genetic resource.
Photo and information about North American Yaks courtesy of Nicole Porter.
Recognized for its high trainability and superior environmental adaptation, the breed is worthy of attention for use in grass‑based ranching, especially where stocking levels are restricted and environmental conditions are harsh. The yak is also of great value to high-end fiber producers, dairy farmers, and cheesemakers, and produces lean, nutrient-dense beef that is valuable for specialty markets. As with any breed, crossbred animals must be tracked to ensure the integrity of the pure lines, and significant numbers of purebred stock must be maintained. These actions will ensure that parental stocks remain available for conservation of the genetic resource. The next steps for yaks are to confirm their genetic history and to investigate their purebred population status in America.
Did you know:
The Livestock Conservancy is America’s leading organization working to save over 150 heritage breeds from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants, and donations from the public to raise the $700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare breeds of farm animals. Click here to learn how you can help.