Muskox are members of the goat family. They’re an arctic survivor with a thick coat consisting of long (up to 36 inches) guard hairs covering a dense winter coat of harvestable warm fur called Qiviut. Qiviut is considered to be one of the warmest materials in the world.
Slide is an orphaned bull from the Yukon Territory. Slide was cared for as a calf at a game refuge in Canada and brought to AWCC in the winter of 2000. Record snowfalls and avalanches closing the Seward Highway delayed Slide’s arrival to AWCC but earned him his name. Mike Miller, AWCC’s Executive Director watched over the musk ox in a horse trailer in Anchorage for over 4 days while they waited for the highway to re-open.
Mukluk Introduced into the Existing Herd
In the summer of 2010, a Musk Ox calf was rescued from an oil facility in Prudhoe Bay. The staff of several different companies in the area assisted with the capture of the orphaned female musk ox. These same staff worked with Alaska Department of Fish and Game to relocate the calf to AWCC. From here, AWCC’s interns stepped up and took the animal in, nursing it through a couple bugs it had, and working very closely with Large Animal Research through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Mukluk, as she became known is doing very well at AWCC. She spent the winter in an inclosure nearby the existing musk ox herd, and this spring, was introduced into this herd. She’s had a couple of ‘learning opportunities’ with the other Musk Oxen, but overall is fitting in nicely and doing well! AWCC continues to work with Large Animal Research for the best care for Mukluk and the other large animals at the Center. In the meantime, be sure to come down to the center to visit Mukluk – we’ll all be glad you did!
Sidney is a female musk ox previously used for research at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Still part of dietary and breeding studies she will live out her life at AWCC.