Yak Genetic Improvement and Semen Cryopreservation

24th Feb, 2021: The Livestock Research and Extension Division, Department of Livestock in collaboration with National Highland Research and Development Centre (NHRDC), Jakar and National Dairy Research and Development Centre (NDRDC), Yusipang is organizing 14 days training on Artificial Insemination (AI) in yaks to the Livestock officials of highland districts and farm staffs in Haa. The training program is initiated as a part Highland Development Program to improve the Yak Breed (genetic) and conserve the Bhutanese indigenous Yak gene through semen cryopreservation.  

The importance of yaks to highland communities in Bhutan goes beyond the socio-economy and livelihood. It plays a key role in maintaining the rangeland eco-system, biodiversity conservation and preservation of culture and traditions. In view of addressing these concerns, Highland Development Program has been instituted which is expected to deliver a holistic set of targeted interventions to improve the livelihoods and socio-economic development of highland communities. Among several interventions under highland development program, Yak genetic improvement is one of the major components to ensure sustainable livelihood of highland communities. This strategic plan is to establish yak nucleus farm for pure-line breeding, application of assisted reproductive technology in yak genetic improvement through the production of our own indigenous Yak semen.

The National Highland Research and Development Center (NHRDC) is in the process of establishing a Yak semen processing center at the National Integrated Yak Service Centre (NIYSC), Haa. Together with this, the week-long training will train the officials in estrus synchronization, physiological parameters and adaptation of hands on acclimatizing to yak reproductive system, restraining and heat detection techniques. The priority of producing domestic semen is to realize the self-reliance in Yak semen for both genetic improvement and semen cryopreservation. The NHRDC has also developed Yak Breeding Strategy Document which will guide the overall yak breeding program in the country.

The training is supported by Highland Development Program (HDP) and the Kanjenjunga Landscape Development Initiatives (KLCDI), ICIMOD.