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The Musk Ox & Domestication Of The Musk Ox For The Gain Of Alaska’s Native Populations

File:Ovibos moschatus stehend.jpg

Above is a Musk Ox. Just looking at that thing puts me in a good mood. 

What is that Musk Ox considering? I think it is making up its mind about whether it will gore you or take a nap instead. On one hand it likely hates people, but on the other hand it is sleepy. 

Here is a link to the Musk Ox Farm in Alaska. The farm is a non-profit that helps native people in Alaska gain from the domestication of the Musk Ox.

At the Musk Ox Farm, the wool of the Musk Ox is harvested once each year. This wool is called Qiviut. Here is the link for products you can buy that are made out of this Qiviut.

( The name Musk Ox Farm reminds me of how the animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm named the farm they took over from humans “Animal Farm.” I don’t think the Musk Ox themselves run Musk Ox Farm. Here is a biography of George Orwell from George Orwell.org

The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage is a place where you can learn about Alaska’s native populations.

Here is the Alaska Native Knowledge Network from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. If you are willing to poke around for a few minutes, there is a lot of information at this site.

Not surprisingly, people hunt the Musk Ox. They are easy to kill because when threatenedthey form a defensive circle that  is condusive to simply shooting them down. What great sport that must be.

Here is information about the Musk Ox from Musk Ox Farm—

The musk ox, Ovibos moschatus, is an ancient species of arctic mammal currently found in remote areas of the far north, including Greenland, Alaska, Canada and Siberia. During the Pleistocene, musk oxen wandered across the Bering Land Bridge to populate North America with the likes of the wooly mammoth, saber-toothed cat, and giant ground sloth. Fossil records indicate the musk ox ranged as far south as France and Ohio during the last Ice Age. The largest wild populations of musk oxen can be found in Canada, especially on Banks and Victoria Islands, Northwest Territory. Musk oxen died off within Alaska by the late 1800’s and were reintroduced from wild herds in eatern Greenland in the 1930’s. Once in danger of disappearing completely, musk ox populations have made a dramatic comeback with a current worldwide population of about 150,000 animals.

Despite their common name, musk oxen have no musk glands and are not oxen. Although they may resemble bison, musk ox are more closely related to goats and sheep. This arctic ungulate, like domestic cattle, has a four-chambered stomach and eats a wide variety of foods such as lichens, grasses, and leaves.

Here are some more facts about the Musk Ox.

Below is a picture of a bunch of Musk Ox. Maybe they are having a meeting of some kind. 

File:Ovibos moschatus.jpg

July 23, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hello Neil-
    Thank you for the coverage of our project! Although I have to contest one comment… nothing in my experience would support the idea that musk ox hate people, although perhaps they ought to since it was people who hunted them nearly to extinction, and continue to do so in many of their habitats today.

    After almost 60 years of trials and triumphs, the musk ox project is facing the calamitous reality that many non-profits face today: a shortfall of donations both public and private, and a decrease in earned revenue. We are currently undertaking an emergency fundraising campaign to meet an ultimatum set by the board of directors: meet a $10,000 fundraising goal by April 1st, or face the sale of the farm.

    Along with a host of other dedicated volunteers, I have launched this effort and now have a PayPal/credit card donations page on our website:

    Please support us now in our time of crisis and help us get the word out! We have a talented group of individuals lined up as prospective new board members, and a superlative candidate for ED. There is great hope for the future of this project, as long as we can get through this tiny rough patch.

    Thank you!
    Perrin Teal-Sullivan
    Friend of the Musk Ox

    Comment by Perrin Teal-Sullivan | March 30, 2010

  2. Beautiful Animals. Best of luck with the funraising Mr Sullivan

    Comment by bill brady | March 30, 2010

  3. I think musk oxen are wonderful animals and I hope you are able to accomplish your fundraising. Do you ever have musk oxen for sale?

    Comment by Gavin McIntosh | July 18, 2010

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