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E3 Journal of Environmental Research and Management

E3 Journal of Environmental Research and Management Vol. 4 (2) pp. 0189-0196, March 2013; © E3 Journals; ISSN 2141-7466

The yaks: heart and soul of the himalayan tribes of bhutan

Dorji Wangchuk1 , Wanchai Dhammasaccakarn1 , Punya Tepsing1 * , Thongphon Promsaka Na Sakolnakarn1
1 Research Center for Asia Pacific Development Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand 90112
*Corresponding Author E-mail:
Accepted 20 February 2013


The Himalayan tribes of Bhutan depend on the yaks and consider this bovine species their heart and soul. These animals provide their livelihood and economy. Bounded by harsh geographic and climatic conditions, these tribes’ agricultural practices are merely for subsistence, and thus the yaks remain indispensable for the survival of the Bjobs of Western Bhutan and the Brokpas of Eastern Bhutan. Looking to the future, it is very uncertain how long these tribes can continue to rely on the yaks for their survival since they are confronting numerous problems: insufficient pastures, diseases, climate changes, management of herds, and a shrinking market economy. It is essential now that the government of Bhutan promote animal husbandry for the sustainable and continual support of the Brokpas and Bjobs. The government must also create a better market for these people and encourage them to sell yak products at the regional and national levels. Finally, the government must look into the rangeland problems faced by these tribes and offer alternatives to promote the fragile livelihood of these Himalayan tribes.

Keywords: Bhutan, Yaks, Himalayas, Bjobs, Brokpas, Tsamdro

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