A large proportion of the descriptions and examples pertaining to yak and yak husbandry in preceding chapters were taken from published investigations and experience with yak in China, and much of that information is relevant to yak anywhere. But even within China there are some differences among the principal provinces with yak in the environment and in the relative importance of yak in the life of the people and the economies of the provinces. The first part of this chapter will draw attention to these aspects through separate accounts for Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Xinjiang and Yunnan.
The second part deals with yak in the other countries, mostly in Asia and adjacent to China, with their own traditions of yak keeping. Numbers of yak in these other countries may seem small relative to those in China, but, nonetheless, the yak in these other mountainous regions have significant local importance. Much of the detailed information on yak in earlier chapters would be instantly recognizable as also relating to yak in these other countries. Certainly, there are features of yak and yak production special to several of these areas, many of which also support significant investigational and development work with yak. Where appropriate, additional information is provided on the performance of yak and on different aspects of yak production in such countries.
The third part of this chapter deals with yak in "new" environments, principally a relatively small population in parts of North America and fewer in Europe, with some of the animals kept for commercial purposes and others in zoos and wild animal parks. The one common element for these yak is that a significant number of the generally small herds are found in conditions that are atypical of those for yak in the traditional territories. Few of these animals in the "new" environments suffer the nutritional deprivations over winter and early spring that are so common for yak in their native habitats, and many are kept at relatively low elevations and in temperate climates.