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300 Himalayan yaks starve to death in Sikkim

A file photo of yaks at Tsomgo Lake, in Sikkim.

A file photo of yaks at Tsomgo Lake, in Sikkim.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

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After heavy snowfall, a rescue team with feed and fodder has reached Mukuthang

At least 300 yaks starved to death in a remote Himalayan valley after a bout of unusually harsh winter weather.

Officials in the Sikkim said they received the first distress call from around 50 people cut off in the remote Mukuthang Valley in December.

Following very heavy snowfall, the residents asked for help to provid feed for their herd of around 1,500 yaks, a source of local milk, milk products, transportation and wool.

Transportation hit

“We made several attempts to reach them but couldn’t. No roads or air transport could reach there because of the weather conditions. We reached there now and have already confirmed at least 300 yak deaths,” the North Sikkim District Magistrate Raj Kumar Yadav said.

“The local families say that 500 yaks have died because of starvation. We are trying to confirm that. Around 50 yaks are also receiving urgent medical attention,” Mr. Yadav added.

“It appears that these dead yaks had got nothing to eat during the prolonged period of snowfall since December last year,” he said.

The animal husbandry department’s medical team has reached Mukuthang, he said.

The team carried feed and fodder for the yaks which are still alive, he said.

Yaks are one of the mainstays of the region’s tourism-dependent economy.

A few yaks die because of extreme conditions in the region each year, but the authorities say that this year’s toll is unprecedented.

The authorities are making arrangements to bury the dead yaks.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 9:59:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/300-himalayan-yaks-starve-to-death-in-sikkim/article27109572.ece

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