China uses these yak patrol teams to enforce claims over its disputed western borders

China map

China is the third largest country in the world by area, with many of its most remote areas incredibly difficult for humans to reach unaided.

This is especially true along China’s western border with Pakistan. Here, China’s Xinjiang Province soars into the sky as it meets the Pamir Mountains — one of the highest mountain ranges in the world.

Faced with a lack of roads, extremely adverse terrain, and incredibly cold weather, the Chinese turned to a unique method of transportation for its soldiers along the border: Yaks.

Below are 11 pictures of China’s yak patrol team.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”/#chinas-yak-patrol-teams-are-responsible-for-guarding-the-chinese-border-in-some-of-the-most-inhospitable-land-on-earth-1″
title=”China’s yak patrol teams are responsible for guarding the Chinese border in some of the most inhospitable land on earth.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d407cbd86ef195c8b64e0″
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-teams-are-responsible-for-securing-the-pamir-mountains-in-the-far-west-of-china-2″
title=”The teams are responsible for securing the Pamir mountains in the far west of China.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d4021bd86ef335d8b6503″
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-pamirs-are-largely-uninhabited-along-the-border-3″
title=”The Pamirs are largely uninhabited along the border.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d40d1bd86efa15c8b654b”
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#as-the-region-lacks-transportation-infrastructure-yaks-present-the-most-reliable-method-of-travel-4″
title=”As the region lacks transportation infrastructure, yaks present the most reliable method of travel.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d4196bd86ef135c8b652d”
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#at-its-highest-point-the-pamirs-within-chinas-border-can-rise-to-13000-feet-above-sea-level-5″
title=”At its highest point, the Pamirs within China’s border can rise to 13,000 feet above sea level.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d42ab9dd7cc1e008c167d”
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#among-the-locations-that-the-soldiers-patrol-among-the-pamirs-are-locations-known-as-death-valley-and-the-blood-stained-path-6″
title=”Among the locations that the soldiers patrol among the Pamirs are locations known as ‘Death Valley’ and the ‘Blood-Stained Path.'”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d4125bd86ef14008c16c3″
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#despite-the-remoteness-of-the-border-the-patrols-are-of-important-political-significance-7″
title=”Despite the remoteness of the border, the patrols are of important political significance.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d41c0bd86ef17008c14e6″
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-border-was-originally-contested-between-india-pakistan-and-china-however-an-agreement-solidified-pakistan-and-chinas-border-8″
title=”The border was originally contested between India, Pakistan, and China. However, an agreement solidified Pakistan and China’s border.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d41e4bd86ef1d5d8b648e”
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#india-does-not-recognize-the-deal-and-still-claims-portions-of-the-land-as-its-own-9″
title=”India does not recognise the deal, and still claims portions of the land as its own.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d42e49dd7cc18008c16af”
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#additionally-the-yak-patrols-play-a-role-in-enforcing-chinese-security-in-otherwise-unguarded-portions-of-xinjiang-province-10″
title=”Additionally, the yak patrols play a role in enforcing Chinese security in otherwise unguarded portions of Xinjiang province.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d430a9dd7cc16008c1692″
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#the-province-is-facing-an-upswing-in-religious-and-political-violence-from-uighur-separatists-11″
title=”The province is facing an upswing in religious and political violence from Uighur separatists.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/561d434d9dd7cc1a008c15bd”
source=”Chinese media/PLA”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]