September 03, 2013
Dr. Layne Adams (
Since March 2009, 121 adult female muskoxen have been fitted with radiocollars including 75 that carried conventional collars that were monitored by regular aircraft flights over the 2 study areas. The remaining 36 animals were fittled with radiocollars that determined the muskox’s location every 4 hours by GPS and then transmitted those locations each week to a satellite then on to the researchers. Monitoring the collared animals ended on 1 June 2013, when the collars were programmed to drop off of the muskoxen. In this post, Dr. Adams recounts the travels of a 567-pound adult female muskox, known as #09031, who was fitted with a satellite/GPS collar in late March 2009 and carried such a collar during the entire study.
Layne Adams and helicopter pilot Mark Shelton weigh a muskox in the Igichuk Hills of Cape Krusenstern National Monument (NPS Photo)
We initially captured her on 25 March 2009 about 15 miles west of
Map of the movements of Muskox #09031 (USGS)
When we started the muskox project, the conventional wisdom was muskox have a very energy conservative lifestyle and that they tended to inhabit small home ranges throughout their life. While we have had some individuals that have limited home ranges, we have many examples of individuals that have made more extensive movements. These movements are of particular interest because we only radio-collared adult females that should be the least likely sex-age class in the population to make such shifts in their home ranges and exploratory movements (like the one depicted to
Photos of the group containing muskox #09031 taken during radio-tracking flights (NPS Photos)