After more than two decades of work, researchers in Qinghai province of Northwest China have successfully bred a hornless yak.
According to ECNS, the efforts were lead by Yan Ping, with the help of her research team from the Lanzhou Institute of Husbandry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, a subset of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
The team has named the new breed Ashidan – inspired by the Ashidan Mountain that stands 4,380 meters tall beyond the Daton Yak Breeding Farm.
In addition to the removal of its horns, Ashidan yaks have a mild temperament that makes them easier to manage at large-scale breeding operations.
Not only can the horns harm fellow yaks in captivity, but they are also known to damage the animal’s shelters and other farm property, according to Yan.
For these reasons, the farm’s leader, Ma Jinshou, says that the new yaks will perform better than their horned brethren, despite their similar appearance and physique.
The Daton Yak Breeding Farm breeds the yaks exclusively for their meat.
ECNS claims that many countries around the world have invested in research to breed hornless livestock, but it is unclear whether or not it has been done successfully in the past.
Qinghai is the largest province in China and, according to ECNS, 96% of its 720,000 square kilometers remains agrarian land at an elevation higher than 3,000 meters.
It is also home to a third of the world’s yak population, or 4.8 million yaks.
With this new breed of shaggy-haired wild ox, you might say Qinghai farmers hit the yak-pot.
[Cover image via ECNS]