Quinoa, the newborn Yak calf, joins the herd
Since last weekend, the domestic yaks at Hellabrunn Zoo have had a new addition to the group. The newborn yak called Quinoa is in excellent health. And within just a few days of her birth she was already leaping and running agilely across the meadow of the yak enclosure.
Quinoa can use her little hind legs to great effect: weighing only 14 kg, the baby yak now bounds out of the stable behind the other yaks into the cool autumn morning. While the adult yaks plod unhurriedly in the meadow - they are, after all, much heavier than Quinoa, tipping the scales at between 250 and 400 kg - the five-day-old yak calf performs zigzags, one after the other, as she boldly explores her enclosure. But her adventurous behaviour is very energy consuming, and so after a few minutes she returns to her mum Korea's side. There the baby yak can catch her breath as she rests between the other yaks in the Hellabrunn herd.
The yaks living at Hellabrunn Zoo are domestic yaks (Bos grunniens). The domesticated species are mainly found in the Himalayas, Mongolia and southern Siberia. They evolved from the wild yak (Bos mutus) that live in the Tibetan highlands. Yaks are able to thrive in the extreme climatic conditions that exist in these high altitude regions and are frugal eaters. In their often inhospitable habitats, they can survive without food or water for several days at a time. Domestic yaks play an important role in these regions, especially in agriculture. The animals supply milk and meat as well as wool and leather - and their dried manure is used as an important source of fuel. Yaks are also kept as pack animals.
Unlike the domestic yak, the wild yak, like many other wild cattle-related species that still exist, is classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (International Union for Conservation of Nature). In the last 30 years alone, the remaining population of wild yak, which is limited to Western China and Tibet, has declined by over 30 per cent.
About the domestic yak at Hellabrunn Zoo
There are currently seven domestic yaks living at Hellabrunn Zoo: the breeding bull Norbu(born 13.5.2013, at Hellabrunn since 14.12.2014), yak cow Korea (born 13.5.2013), three other yak cows, one-year-old yak bull Pedro (born 10.9.2015) and yak calf Quinoa (born 02.10.2016).