Tuesday, July 5, 2011

UAF Large Animal Research Station

While the men were gone and Susan was at work, I spent some time with Heather doing things she hadn't done before either. Although Fairbanks is a small city, it has a large university which is involved with a lot of research in areas of concern to Alaska. The Large Animal Research Station studies musk oxen and caribou / reindeer. These are the same species, so can interbreed - the difference is that caribou are the wild 'version', whereas reindeer is the term used for the domesticated version. We (a large group of visitors) were given an informative talk by a staff member.

Musk oxen are not actually oxen, and are, in fact, more closely related to sheep and goats. They have been around for a long time - they were contemporaries of the woolly mammoth. As with most animals, the babies are very cute.

 The caribou were looking a bit tatty as they were loosing their winter coats. They are unusual in that both males and females grow antlers.

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