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Yaks. When people think of the animals of Tibet, a yak has to be among the first they think of. Eighty-five percent (or about 10 million) of the world's yaks live on the Tibetan Plateau. A yak is built to survive tough environments. Yaks have three times more red blood cells than normal cows so they are able to live without any problems on the high elevation grasslands of Tibet. Their long, thick hair insulates their bodies from winter temperatures that can get to -30C (-22F) or colder. Most yaks are black, but it is not uncommon to see white or gray ones especially on the grasslands of northern Amdo (modern day Qinghai province). They are sturdy, sure-footed and perfect for using as pack animals to cross high mountain passes. They can easily carry loads of 70kg (154lb) along rough and steep mountain trails. For centuries yaks have been used to carry salt from the Changtang (northern Plateau) to towns across Tibet and even across the Himalaya into the Dolpo region of Nepal. Yaks can begin being used as pack animals at age 2 and can often live to be over 20 years old. Tibetans have a long history of using yaks. Experts believe that yaks were first domesticated in Tibet at least 3000 years ago.