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Musk oxen

Musk oxen

Z958/0019

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Credit

JEFF LEPORE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEFF LEPORE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Musk oxen. Defensive formation of musk oxen (Ovibos moschatus) on snow. Musk oxen live in herds of 10-100 animals led by one or more dominant males. If threatened, the herd forms into a circle with the females and young on the inside, while adult males fend off attackers. The musk ox is so-named because, during the mating season (around August), the males give off a distinctive smell of musk. Musk oxen feed on birch and willow leaves in summer and dig for mosses and roots in winter. They inhabit Arctic tundra from Canada to western Greenland. Photographed in Nunivak National Wilderness, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, USA.

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