After a five-year break Hellabrunn celebrates the birth of a new yak calf
The last time Hellabunn Zoo witnessed the birth of a baby yak was back in December 2010. The female Asian bovid baby was christened Kat. Now five years later, Kat has herself become a mother, delivering a strapping male calf into the world on 10 September. The newborn bull is called Pedro.
Unlike the four female yaks living at Helllabrunn Zoo, Pedro does not have black hair, but has instead inherited the impressive white coat of his two and a half year old father Norbu. In the weeks since his birth, the little young bull has been enjoying the Indian summer in Munich to the fullest, exploring his spacious enclosure and practising his grunting - the loud grunting of domestic yaks has earned the species the scientific name Bos grunniens or grunting ox. At birth, baby Pedro weighed just under 12 kilos, however he has since acquired a sturdy frame. Over the next two years he will grow to a shoulder height of up to 2.20 m and weigh up to 580 kilos - the size of a full-grown bull - but first he will have to eat and drink plenty.
Although the global bovid population is approximately 1.3 billion, more than 99 per cent of bovids are domesticated. The remaining wild species such as the wild yak (Bos mutus or mute ox) are classified as under threat by the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The wild animals that still survive are restricted to the mountains of Western China and the Tibetan Plateau, where their population has declined by more than 30 per cent in the past 30 years alone.
All yaks living in zoos worldwide are without exception domesticated species (Bos grunniens). This species is found mainly in the Himalayas, Mongolia and southern Siberia. They are extremely frugal, having adapted to the local climatic conditions. The domestic yak can therefore survive for several days without food or water in their often inhospitable terrain. For the majority of people living in these regions, the domestic yak still represents a source of livelihood, serving as a source of meat, leather, hair, wool and a specially nutritious milk. It is also used as a pack animal for transporting possessions and people. Even its manure is used as fuel in the relatively treeless region, after first being dried on the roofs and walls of local houses.
About the domestic yaks at Hellabrunn Zoo
There are now six domestic yaks living at Hellabrunn Zoo - opposite the Show Arena: the stock bull Norbu (* 05.13.2013, at Hellabrunn since 12.14.2014), the female yak Kat (* 30.12.2010), three other female yaks and the newborn calf Pedro (* 09.10.2015).