Close View of a Herd of Yaks

Close View of a Herd of Yaks in Wainwright National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Sixty years ago the great plain stretching from the Red River to the Rockies, now the abode of close to two million people and forming the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, was inhabited only by wandering bands of Indians, by herds of buffalo and by a few intrepid fur trappers. In the first years of settlement many thought that Alberta was destined to be a range country and though today agriculture is the chief source of work in Alberta, the cattle industry is still important.

Ordinary cattle when caught in a prairie blizzard are not able to stand and face the storm. The yak, an animal of the ox family that lives on the highest and most desolate parts of Central Asia, thrives in the midst of the snow and blizzards of that storm-swept part of the world. The Canadian Government, in an endeavor to improve the breeds of its farm animals and to make them suitable to live in the different parts of Canada, attempted cross breeding. First they crossed the buffalo with the cow. These animals were called cattalos and, like the buffalo, could face a blizzard and stand the severe Canadian storms. It was then thought that by crossing the yaks with cattalos and with the buffaloes, perhaps a domestic animal might be produced that would combine with the good qualities of the cow and buffalo, the fine resisting and enduring qualities of the yak.

Very encouraging results are being obtained from these experiments, which are being carried on by the Department of Agriculture in Wainwright Park, although these experiments, as can be expected, must necessarily be very slow. It will be some years yet before definite results can be achieved.

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