The so-called “yak civilization” emerged in the Tibetan plateau with the domestication of the wild yak around 3500 BP by its first human colonizers, then spreading through the adjacent mountain ranges: Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Pamir, Tian-Shan, Altai, etc. Since then, the yak-human coalition has shaped some of the World´s most fascinating cultural landscapes, for ages providing the basis for sustainable livelihoods where climate and geography didn´t seem to allow it.
Why a World Yak Herders Association?
Nowadays, yak husbandry is rapidly declining in most of the countries where it has been connatural to its high-altitude areas, in spite of yak is the only domesticated native species there. This decline is still more striking if we consider the proven benefits derived from the yak: the high quality of the its milk, meat and wool. Aditionally, yak husbandry is the most ecological type of pastoralism in this specific high-altitude ecosystem, as it contributes to restrain the soil desertification and the glacier melting processes on the headwaters of the Earth´s largest fluvial network.The World Yak Herders Association project is basically a proposal to foster the creation of a grass-root social platform in the highlands of Central Asia (or High Asia) for enabling their native agro-pastoral communities to articulate common projects in response to common problems, challenges and opportunities in this harsh, magnificent and crucial region of global significance.
MESSAGE of Mr Altansukh Tumee, chairman of MoPA, from the Altai region (Mongolia)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Why a project like this?
To fight against food insecurity and malnutrition, economic and cultural poverty and those adverse consequences of globalization in relation to climatic change and loss of biocultural diversity in the marginalized Asia´s high-mountain areas.
What is the WYHA Project?
The WYHA project is the result of the application of an innovative approach inspired in public and engaged anthropology, in combination to ecology and indigenous peoples' stewardship over cultural and natural heritage.
Where WYHA Project will be implemented?
WHYA project is to be implemented on the magnificent scenery of High Asia, on high-mountain areas of Russia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
What is our main indigenous partnership?
In this task, we were expressly supported by PACA (Pastoralists Assembly of Central Asia) - www.pastoralism.net - at the closing session of the I Gathering of Central Asian Pastoralists held in Hustai National Park (Mongolia): 24 - 30 July, 2015.
Its creation responds to these criteria and realities:
- It tries to find out why an animal as complete as yak has been declining since 60s along Tian Shan, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalaya ranges to such a degree that, for example, Indian government has declared yak as threatened species of the State
- It´s inspired in the already existing World Reindeer Herders Association for the Arctic region
- It suggests that environmental protection should be done by the adoption of innovative approaches and global solutions integrating indigenous communities and their various agro-pastoral ways of life as part of a natural global system to be safeguarded
- It responds to the growing importance of the role to be played by High Asia in the global environmental scenario and the current climate crisis
- It transfers to the mountain people from High Asia, usually marginalized, an enhanced role in that region, which has been traditionally considered as a marginal land too