Nim Dorji | Trongsa

A team of livestock officials visited grazing areas for yaks of highlanders in Thanyel, Trongsa.

Of the 13 households in Thangyel, only three households rear yaks.

Dzongkhag livestock officer (DLO), Jigme Chophel, said yaks are an important asset of the highlanders, as they depend on it for their livelihood.

The programme to study the lifestyle of highlanders started last year. It was initiated to retain the highlanders, preserve the culture and to encourage others to raise yaks.

The sector is looking at a sustainable approach to encourage and motivate people.  “We have collected that wish list and development agendas from the highlanders and working on the way forward,” Jigme Chophel said

Improving milk production and clean milk production materials such as churner, cream separator pipes suggested by the highlanders will be delivered.

Jigme Chophel said that in the coming years, the trail to the highland would be maintained. “We will approach the dzongkhag for the renovation of bridges along the trail as they requested.”

It was learnt that a sales outlet for the highland products will be opened at the milk processing unit at Thruepang to showcase the highland products and encourage the highlanders.

Meanwhile, officials also carried out surveillance of gid, locally known as gu-yum. It is an annual programme to prevent the disease.

It is a disease of the central nervous system in yaks and sheep caused by coenurus cerebralis.

Of the 200 yaks, two yaks showed symptoms of gid.

Livestock officials have sent the sample to the regional livestock development centre in Zhemgang for confirmation.

They said the team found the yaks showing the symptoms like loss of body balance, nodding and knocking of heads.

Dogs spread the disease. A tapeworm from the stool of the dogs infect the grass.

Young yaks below the age of three are identified as more susceptible to the disease.