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January 1, 2002

Muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) disappeared from Alaska in the late 1800s, but returned to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when animals were reestablished into areas of former range in 1969-1970 (Klein 1988). Released at Barter Island (Kaktovik) and the Kavik River, muskoxen initially moved into regions that encompassed the 1002 Area on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge. From 1974 to 1986 the muskox population grew rapidly. By 1987, however, numbers declined in the regions that they had first occupied (Reynolds 1998a).

Petroleum exploration and development could occur in muskox habitat in the 1002 Area of the Arctic Refuge. Status of the muskox population and factors related to trends in local abundance need to be determined if changes resulting from natural processes are to be separated from those that might result if industrial development is permitted in the Arctic Refuge.

We developed a study with the following objectives to understand the dynamics of the muskox population in and near the 1002 Area of the Arctic Refuge: 1) determine abundance and rates of population increase, production, and survival; 2) document changes in population distribution over time, and 3) evaluate factors associated with changes in the number of muskoxen.

Publication Year 2002
Title Muskoxen
Authors Patricia E. Reynolds, Kenneth J. Wilson, David R. Klein
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Biological Science Report
Series Number 2002-0001
Index ID 70188497
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center