Having survived the major environmental changes at the end of the Pleistocene, muskoxen were to face an even more severe challenge. Evidence from the high Arctic suggests that muskoxen can survive at least limited hunting pressures from humans for a long time. However, ever increasing hunting pressure from a growing human population seems to be more than the animals can cope with. Even their defensive circle, which gives them such good protection from wolves, their major predator, serves only to make them more vulnerable to humans. As European exploration and settlement of the Arctic increased, muskoxen were threatened with extinction from over hunting.
In 1930, the United Stated Congress allocated funds to reintroduce muskox to Alaska. The goal was to domesticate the animals and find profitable ways to use them.
Last updated: September 21, 2023