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Betting on the Yak in Kyrgyzstan

Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 01:12

Kyrgyz yak herders practice age-old tradition, which the government looks to expand. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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It's an age old tradition in Kyrgyzstan - Yak herding. Herders cultivate yaks for their meat and for their milk. The Yak's do eat hay -- but mostly they graze on mountain grass. (SOUNDBITE) (Kyrgyz) KYRGYZ YAK HERDER, ERNEST ZHUMALIEV, SAYING: "Yaks live here in this kind of mountain region. Unlike cattle, they don't require a lot of work. When there's a lot of snow, they only require a little help. This year, there's not a lot of snow, so they are lower down on the mountain -- otherwise they would have gone higher long ago." The country's landscape lends itself to Yaks. Kyrgyzstan is about 90 percent mountains with less than 10 percent farmland and pastures. Authorities are now hoping to build on this tradition, which got lost after independence. With about 31,000 Yaks in the country -- it's not enough for the domestic or export markets -- with authorities hoping investors will see a future in a tradition of the past.

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Betting on the Yak in Kyrgyzstan

Wednesday, February 04, 2015 - 01:12