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
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Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:07:30 -0700
I'd roll the papers tightly with rubber bands, strap two huge canvas bags over my shoulders, then ride my bike, weighed down like a pack animal. Hurling a newspaper missile onto porches was a treat: I hoped to slam it onto the front door, making enough ...
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:01:11 -0700
During one memorable stretch this summer, when I finished last, last and second to last in three straight races as the designated “pack animal” for a young beginner, I tried gratitude -- “Thanks for your patience” -- as well as humor: “I think a few ...
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:48:45 -0700
Dillon the donkey became the world's first contactless payment pack-animal after the addition of a saddle which scans debit and credit cards via touch. Mark Ineson, owner of Real Donkey's tour company, said he approached Barclays to solve a business ...
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 ...
International Business Times AU
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:16:20 -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 ...
Chapel Hill News
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:59:25 -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, 09 Aug 2014 15:41:15 -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 ...
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 ...
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