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It is fitting that in this year, the 50th anniversary of FAO, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific acknowledges, by this publication, the unique and special role of the Yak whose natural environment is almost totally within this region.

The Yak is a relatively insignificant species in global terms, yet it is critical to the livelihood security of the herders in a rather difficult environment.

The Yak's ability to survive in harsh conditions and the peoples' ability to derive sustenance from it are classic examples of adaptation by both the animals and the human beings. The need to ensure the maintenance of domestic animal diversity, therefore, cannot be overstated.

The book is not a purely technical publication but tries, through the use of the scientific and other literature available, to provide a comprehensive document describing all aspects of the Yak and its husbandry. It is, however, unique in providing for the first time such a comprehensive document on the Yak in the English language. It will enable a wide audience to learn and appreciate the contribution the Yak makes both to human survival in an inhospitable environment and to biological diversity.

Obaidullah Khan
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

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