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Hundreds Of Himalayan Yaks Starve To Death

At least 300 rare Himalayan yaks have died of starvation in high mountains in the northeast Indian state of Sikkim, close to the border with China.

Hundreds of the dead yaks have been discovered, months after their passage to the nearest village became blocked by snow.

A team of local administrators and veterinarians visiting the heights of Muguthang and Yumthang in northern Sikkim discovered the animals' corpses on Friday, government official Raj Yadav said on Saturday.

He said the semi-domesticated animals became trapped in December after their passage to the nearest village became blocked due to heavy snowfall.

Photo: Getty

Yadav said authorities tried several times to drop feed for the yaks by helicopter but failed due to inclement weather.

"The passage was cleared five days ago, after which our team trekked to the area to discover the tragedy," he said.

The areas of Muguthang and Yumthang are favourite grazing grounds for yaks in the region.

Yadav said the government would compensate the yak owners with 30,000 Indian rupees ($A612) per yak up to a maximum of three yaks per family.

Photo: Getty

Sikkim conservationist Usha Lachungpa said the construction of roads in the area could have caused snowslides.

Villagers living in the Himalayan foothills of northeast India heavily depend on livestock, mainly yaks, goats and sheep, for their livelihoods and to feed their families.