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I awake in the dark of the night to the sounds of the camp dogs – big, fearsome, toothy creatures barking wildly at something unknown. As I lie in my sleeping bag, cosy inside a yak-hair tent, I wonder what could be out there on the vast and empty grassland.

When morning comes, I learn wolves had approached our camp under the cover of darkness, sending the dogs into a frenzied defence. But the hounds did their job; all the family's precious yaks are present and accounted for, already being milked in the pale light of the high-altitude sunrise.

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Asia China Gansu Sheng