Musk Ox

Ovibos moschatus

The muskox is an Arctic mammal noted for its thick coat and for the strong odor emitted by males, from which its name derives. This musky odor is used to attract females during mating season.

Muskoxen primarily live in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, with small introduced populations in Sweden, Siberia, Norway, and Alaska.

The thick coat and large head suggests a larger animal than the muskox truly is; the bison, to which the muskox is often compared, can weigh up to twice as much. Muskoxen are occasionally domesticated for wool, meat, and milk. The wool, qiviut, is highly prized for its softness, length, and insulation value.

A muskox can reach speeds of up to 37 mph. Their life expectancy is 12-20 years.

Historically, this species declined because of overhunting, but population recovery has taken place following enforcement of hunting regulations. Management in the late 1900s was mostly conservative hunting quotas to foster recovery and recolonization from the historic declines.

The current world population of muskoxen is estimated at between 80,000 and 125,000.