According to reports, the Himalayan region suffered through very heavy snowfall and the yaks had been trapped there since December. Officials said they received distress calls from locals and yak owners from the remote Mukuthang Valley back in December. They tried to send help, however, the harsh weather conditions became an obstacle and they couldn’t get to the animals.

Tragedy has hit India’s wildlife in the state of Sikkim where reportedly at least 300 yaks have starved to death due to extremely harsh weather conditions.

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An official, Raj Kumar Yadav told AFP,

We made several attempts to reach them but couldn’t. No roads or air transport could reach there because of the weather conditions. We reached there now and have already confirmed at least 300 yak deaths.

He also added that local families are claiming the death of around 500 yaks but officials are yet to confirm that. Other than that, 50 yaks are receiving immediate medical attention.

The region sees the death of at least 15-20 yaks each year but this time, the number of deaths has significantly increased. 

Yadav also said,

The weather was too harsh. One heavy spell of snowfall in December was followed by even more snowfall and even the grass didn’t grow. They died because of both cold and starvation.
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Yaks are an important means of income for the locals as they provide milk, milk products, wool and transportation.

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Reports also add that arrangements are being done to bury the yaks and a compensation of Rs 30,000 per yak will be given to yak owners, with a maximum of three yaks per family.