To herd yaks or attend school?'

Updated: 2014-04-18 09:23

By Erik Nilsson (

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To herd yaks or attend school?'

Chenlee Shira plays with a yak calf in Yege township in July 2013. The 13-year-old's nomadic parents camp on the mountains close to the school — yet a ways from any road — so the boy can return on weekends.

His illiterate mother rises at 3 am every day to milk.

Yaks overwhelmingly provide the primary source of income and sustenance for Yege's roughly 2,000 nomads.

More than 90 percent of the population of the secluded township in Qinghai province's Qumalai county comprises roaming yak herders with annual incomes that averaged 2,000 yuan in 2011.

[Photo by Erik Nilsson/]  

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