Stranded in snow, 300 yaks starve to death

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Stranded in snow, 300 yaks starve to death
Stranded in snow, 300 yaks starve to death

Sikkim : Amid severe cold and excessive snowfall at an altitude of around 15,000 feet in north Sikkim, around 300 yaks have starved to death. The administration has rushed medical teams to save the remaining animals in the region.

The administration has described the incident as catastrophic and unprecedented.

Families who survive on products made of yak milk and cheese migrated to lower altitude, leaving the yaks in the extreme conditions, said a report.

“Due to heavy snowfall, the yaks were stranded at one place in Mukuthang since December, which caused starvation and led to the death of the yaks,” said a press statement issued by the Sikkim government. “The deaths have been reported at Mukuthang Valley near the Indo-Tibetan border,” Raj Kumar Yadav, district collector of North Sikkim district, said. It takes a five-hour journey by vehicle and a three to four hour trek to reach the valley from Gangtok, the state capital.

“The road leading to the area has been blocked for the last three months because of bad weather and heavy snowfall. Several attempts to carry fodder in helicopters and feed the yaks also failed because of bad weather,” Yadav said, referring to the way the government usually deals with such a crisis -- dropping fodder from helicopters.

He said that 10-15 yaks die every year and that is natural but this year the number has gone way up.

“There are 40 to 50 yaks still up there that need immediate attention,” he added.