The North Pakistan, especially Gilgit-Baltistan is blessed naturally with luxuriantly green orchards (mostly of cherry, apricot, apple, pears, peaches), streams full of dancing waters, roaring rivers, and meadows stretching in the quietude like that of heavens at a height which, is a unique feature of Pakistan’s northern areas. The juniper, pine and Deodar are the trees that, in their trunk rings, have recorded the cycles of rainy and snowy seasons of centuries.
The blue of sky, the emerald of flora and the turquoise of water add to the palette, nature has used to paint this landscape full of mountains, trees and flowers with a divine composition of colors and the brightness of the rising sun, worshiped by the whiteness of the snow which, on some peaks, have never melted for millions of years. Spring in Hunza has a myriad of colous, shapes and hues.
The yak is regarded as one of the world’s most remarkable domestic animals. It lives in conditions of extreme harshness and deprivation while providing a livelihood for people. Chinese historians have argued that without the yak’s capacity to live in such a hostile environment, human civilization might not have established and flourished in remote areas.
Yak (Bos grunniens) is native to high mountains of Asia mostly in Tibet, Xingjiang autonomous region of China, Shimshal valley in the Karakoram ranges of Pakistan, Tajikistan, and India and in Wakhan corridor, Afghanistan. Yaks were first domesticated in Tibet in 1000 BC and have always been the most useful domestic animal at high elevations, above 3,200 metre to 5,500m.
Yak can climb as high as 6,500 metre and can also be successfully raised at very low elevations. Yak is a very efficient food-converting animal, and does well on a variety of pastures with no supplemental feed required. The yak grazes on grasses, herbs, and lichens. In winter it eats poor coarse grass, withered leaves and twigs, and quenches the thirst with snow and ice. Yak is a sure-footed climber.
It has a great lung capacity. Even its blood cells are designed for high elevations — half the size of those of cattle, and three times more in number — increasing the blood capacity to carry oxygen. The dense coat enables yak to successfully survive temperatures as low as -40 degree Celsius. Yak’s respiratory rate increases with heat and low altitudes and decreases at high cooler climates.
No doubt, yaks are very useful animals in term of using for transport, meat, milk productions.
In Pakistan yaks are found in Shimshal, Passu, Wakhan, Nagir and Baltistan in the Karakoram and Himalayan regions of Pakistan. But its major concentration is in Shimshal valley in the Khunjerab National Park on the northeast of Gilgit bordering China. Shimshal is located in the Karakoram Range. The elevations range from Shimshal village (3,108 metres) to the highest summit Destughil Sar (7,885 metres). Approximately 80 per cent of the Shimshal region falls into this high mountain zone.
The local people engaged with the tourism industry have introduced the "Yak Safari" in the valley and now every year hundreds of tourists’ rash up to there to experience the unique traveling adventure.