A pack animal or beast of burden is a working animal used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back; the term may be applied to either an individual animal or a species so employed. The term pack animal is sometimes used in contrast to draft animal, which is a working animal that typically pulls a load behind itself (such as a plow or a wheeled cart) rather than carrying cargo directly on its back.
Many ungulate species are traditional pack animals, including elephants, camels, the yak, reindeer, goats, water buffalo and llama, and many of the domesticated Equidae (horse family).
A camel pack animal transporting nomadic materials in Eyl
The term is not routinely applied to humans carrying loads on their backs except to make a pejorative point about the injustice of so employing them, or about the privation that usually occasions accepting such work without explicit coercion. (The 1978 Rolling Stones song "Beast of Burden" refers to a sense of abuse, accepted within a romantic relationship.) Nevertheless, from a physical point of view, certainly many considerations apply equally to human and other pack animals, without considering the range of social conditions ranging through slaves, abused women and children, Himalayan and African natives employed as expedition porters, vacationing students whose duties as staff of mountaineering huts include packing heavy loads of supplies up steep slopes, and purely recreational hikers and backpackers including both short-trip ones, and long-trip backpackers who court injury and emaciation in carrying their heavy loads.
Another unconventional form of pack animal may be the dogs that are brought along on hikes carrying their own supply of drinking water and snacks on their backs, whether to provide them more exercise, or in pursuit of a hiker's ethic of "everyone carries his own gear".
Pack animals by region
- Andes - llama, donkey, mule
- Arctic - dog, reindeer
- Central Africa and South Africa - ox, mule, donkey
- Central Asia - Bactrian camel, yak, mule, donkey.
- Eurasia - donkey, ox, horse
- North America - horse, mule, donkey
- North Africa and Arabic countries - dromedary camel
- Oceania - donkey, horse, dromedary camel, mule, ox
- South Asia and South East Asia - Indian elephant, water buffalo, yak
International Business Times AU
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:15:00 -0700
Unlike many other pack animal species, male and female wolves have equal operational role within their group and a wolf pack will thus be led by an alpha couple rather than an alpha male. The alpha couple leads the pack during a hunt and often eats ...
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:43:44 -0700
He's been fortunate that he never lost a single pack animal on the thousands of miles of trail that he's covered. And in all that time, he's only been in one serious wreck. “Sure I've been bucked off a few times, but I don't call that a wreck,” he said ...
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:13:56 -0700
As he looks back over his career, Lucas has no regrets. He's been fortunate that he never lost a single pack animal on the thousands of miles of trail that he's covered. And in all that time, he's only been in one serious wreck. “Sure I've been bucked ...
Colorado Springs Gazette
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:11:15 -0700
We packed gear to all the lookouts too. There used to be quite a few, but now we're down to one." As he looks back over his career, Lucas has no regrets. He's been fortunate that he never lost a single pack animal on the thousands of miles of trail ...
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:45:00 -0700
A.Dogs need exercise, discipline, and then affection, in that order. However, too many people focus on nothing but affection without seeing to the dog's physical needs for exercise and mental needs for discipline. A dog is a pack animal and you are its ...
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:02:56 -0700
#Newride acted as the pack animal when his son dressed up as “No Gold Charlie” in a past parade, Jackman said. #Newride's owner had interesting facts on donkeys at his fingertips. “Donkeys protect the herd,” said Jackman. “They go after coyotes or ...
News & Observer
News & Observer
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 17:15:41 -0700
He used old maps and historic accounts to predict where he might find roads, and hypothesized that towns would be spaced about 15 miles apart – the distance a pack animal could cover in a day. “That's the basic pace of movement (in the Piedmont) until ...
Sat, 02 Aug 2014 04:03:45 -0700
Originally called Ah-Chim-Hai (“Flame-of-the-Morning”), she was reluctantly sold to a Marine, Second Lieutenant Eric Pedersen, and trained to serve as a pack animal, repeatedly hauling heavy loads of artillery shells up steep hills, dodging bombs and ...
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