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The yak is the main bovine on the Tibetan plateau. A heavily built horned animal with a bulky frame, sturdy legs, and rounded cloven hooves, the yak is characterized by long shaggy hair that hangs down below its belly and a dense down-like undercoat. The domestic yak or Bos Grunniens (grunting ox) is a direct descendant of the much larger wild yak, Bos Mutus, (mute ox), now an endangered species found mainly in the Norther plains of Central Tibet. The yak has adapted to high altitudes and thrives at 3000 meters and above. There are presently 13 million yaks on the Tibetan Plateau and beyond, into Mongolia, Eastern Russian, the Himalayan regions and parts of Central Asia.
Sagadawa celebrates the birth of the Buddha, which is marked on the full moon of the fifth lunar month. For Mahayana Buddhists around the world, the whole month is a time devoted to religious practice and people celebrate by making prostrations, taking vegetarian vows, saving animal lives and giving alms to the poor.