Yaks live throughout elevated regions of Central Asia and China. Parts of Nepal, Mongolia and Russia also host populations. Elevations between 14,000 and 20,000 feet above sea level are ideal for yaks, which boast a specialized physiology for mountainous terrain and cold climates.
The lungs and heart of a yak are significantly larger than those of bovine relatives and allow it to survive environments with less oxygen. Yaks experience heat exhaustion at lower elevations and at temperatures greater than 59 degrees Fahrenheit due to their thick layers of fat and dense coats. Yaks can reach more than 7 feet tall and weight up to 2,200 pounds.