Livestock is one
of the mainstays of Ladakh's domestic economy, with the yak and the goat
being the two most important animals. Yaks are shaggy, short-statured,
sturdy and sure footed animals of prodigious strength, capable of negotiating
the steepest of slopes, narrow frozen tracks and the coldest of climes.
Feeding on the snow and on small shrubs in the craggy terrain, they yield
milk for butter, hair for ropes and tents, hide for boots, aprons and baskets,
horns for agricultural implements, dung for fuel and meat for sustenance,
thereby becoming the most important animal in the arctic zone. The goats
of the eastern region of Chang Thang have extremely fine, long staple fleece,
pashm famed for its end product of pashmina shawls. Its other products
too help in the sustenance of daily life. Zanskari ponies are famous for
their speed, strength and stamina and, therefore, make excellent vehicles
of transport and are unequalled for the sport of Ladakhi polo.