Muskoxen are wild arctic mammals indigenous to northern Canada and Greenland, with introduced populations living in Alaska and Siberia. Despite their common name and appearance, muskoxen are more closely-related to sheep and goats than to cattle, and are the only members of the Ovibos genus.
On average, muskoxen measure five to eight feet in length and weigh 400-900lbs; however, their thick, double-layer coats can make them appear to be much larger animals. This coat is necessary for surviving arctic temperatures and may nearly reach the ground on some animals. Muskoxen also have large heads in proportion to their bodies and feature large, curved horns on both sexes.
The muskox has long been a food source for native peoples living in its range. However, increased colonization in these areas often resulted in overhunting, wiping out muskox populations in many areas by the early twentieth century. Since then, muskoxen have been reintroduced to many areas such as Alaska and Siberia, and are protected in most others. The estimated current muskox population has climbed to 80,000-125,000, with nearly half living on Canada’s Banks Island.