[In the lower left, a yak herd hoofs it across a steep incline. Via the Wildlife Conservation Society]
Wild yaks are endangered and under pressure from humans, who herd domesticated livestock into the same territories. In response to this encroachment, wild yaks have retreated westward to the parts of the Tibetan Plateau where the habitat has not yet been destroyed or fractured.
"Here we have a throwback to the Pleistocene," states Wildlife Conservation Society biologist Joel Berger, an author of the study. Preserving the Tibetan Plateau is vital, as it provides the "opportunity to conserve a species, not to mention an ecosystem and a landscape that is larger than all of Montana and Nebraska combined."