Monday, July 7, 2008

Musk but no dusk

Ovibos moschatus, the muskox, looks like the mastadon’s little brother. Hairier than Haight-Ashbury back in the day, it tromps along the tundra like a defensive tackle in the fourth quarter. Lumbering but majestic. Alert, but largely unperturbed by what goes on around him.
The 600-plus pound animals look like an unkempt cross between a buffalo and a goat, although he is more closely related to the latter. The beasts (think of the creatures from Where the Wild Things Are) disappeared from Alaska in the late 1800s from over-hunting, surviving only in Arctic Canada and Greenland.
A herd was nurtured in the isolation of Nunivak Island and about 40 years ago were set loose again on the coastal plain. They now number about 2,200 across the state.We saw these some 80 miles south of coast, a herd that looked to be anywhere from 18-30 strong. They make a low, guttural grunt. From what I hear, they smell a little like editor.


Kentucky Bob said...

Thats funny.

You getting any sleep?

Anonymous said...

smells like editor? that's a bit harsh. can't wait until you get back...