|Endangered Species: Musk Ox
A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Seth from Christiansburg Elementary School
Christiansburg, VA, U.S.A.
Photo by Larry Shanks, USFWS
Why Study This Topic?
My name is Seth, and my animal is the Musk ox.When
I first got my animal's name, I had to figure out what I wanted to learn
about it. Finally, I decided to learn where it lives, what it eats, and
what are its habits. The reason I wanted to learn about the Musk ox is
so that if I ever met one, I will know if it is mean and if it was, I would
know to stay away from it. If I knew more about the Musk ox, I might be
able to save it from extinction.
What Was Already Known
Before I studied the Musk ox, I knew that it was big,
lived in Alaska, and that it was endangered. I also knew that it would
soon be extinct if people didn't help it. I knew that the reason the Musk
ox is almost extinct is because of poachers. Poachers kill the Musk ox
for its fur, horns, and fat. After the poachers get these, they just let
the animal lay there, until its eaten by another animal or eventualy rots.
Other poachers turn the Musk ox into game trophies to show off their sportmanship.
Search for Information
I searched the Internet for lots of information. On
the Internet, I used Yahoo and a popular Musk Ox site. I also used a book
from our school library. The other resource I used was the newest edition
of the World Book Encyclopiedia. One of the problems with my research was
that I had was that the computer was too slow or the Internet addresses
didn't work. Another problem was that I had an overdue library book and
couldn't check out the Musk ox book I needed for this report. When I brought
back the overdue book, I checked out the Musk ox book. I found out that
this book didn't have enough information.
Description of Plant or Animal
The Musk ox is brown and has thick shaggy fur that
drags the ground. It is about five or six feet tall. The Musk ox has a
large patch of hair on top of its head and a set of razor, sharp horns
directly above its eyes. The Musk ox also has a cow-like face with a horse's
nose. It also has Clydesdale-like legs and hooves.
The Musk oxen mainly feed on grass, willows, lichens,
knot weed, flea bane, and bladder campion. When it can't get these foods,
it digs through the ice and snow for whatever it find. The Musk ox get
water by drinking melted ice or snow. In the summer, it finds water from
flooded river valleys and small pools of water. The Musk ox doesn't have
a place to sleep. It roams all day and goes to sleep where it finds food
or wherever it feels tired. The Musk ox has more space than other animals,
because it has the Arctic plain to roam freely on. It also roams Alaska
The Musk oxen's natural enemies are the wolf and humans.
Many old or sick oxens are killed by packs of wolves. Many young bulls
are killed by hunters for their hooves, fat, under fur, and horns. The
hunters take the oxen's under fur (quivit) to make light warm clothing
such as scarves. The hunters use their fat to make lard and oil. The Musk
oxen doesn't have any camouflage colors like the Polar bear. Some of the
Musk oxen's physical features are its shaggy fur, sharp horns, sturdy legs,
large hooves, a hump on its back, and a large patch of hair on top of its
Reasons for Endangerment
The source of the Musk Oxen's endangerment is from
predation of wolves and from mankind. The Musk ox once roamed Greenland,
Alaska, and Canada in great numbers. However, it was almost wiped out in
the 1800's by hunters and poachers. The poachers and hunters killed the
Musk ox for their warm fur, fat, horns, and hooves. The problem with that
was that the hunters would leave the rest of the ox lying on the ground
to be eaten by another animal or to eventualy rot.
Finally the action to save the Musk Ox from extiction
was taken: they finally made a law saying that you could no longer kill
a Musk Ox. The idea for future actions was that if the oxen ever got over
populated the government would allow sportsmen to hunt them in a controlled
way. If the oxen population kept on growing, the U.S. Forest and Wildlife
Service would remove them from the endangered species list, for about a
year or so.
What Was Learned
I learned that the Musk Ox doesn't have a home it
just sleeps wherever it finds food. Another thing I learned was that the
Musk Ox's under-fur is used to make light, warm clothing. Some of the oxen's
features I learned about were that the ox has long fur and sharp horns.
Some of their other features are large hooves and thick sturdy Clydesdale
like legs. Some natual history about the Musk Ox is that it is not native
to America. The Musk Ox is native to Greenland and was brought over to
America by someone. The oxen can live almost anywhere where it's cold.
Conclusions From Research
Since I researched the Musk Ox, I am more aware of
what it eats, what it does, and where it lives. I am also more aware of
it's natural history and physical features. This project helped me build
up my confidence and responsibility. Another thing researching this animal
helped me with was that it also helped me practice my research skills.
It also helped me to have more information on Polar and Arctic animals.
World Book Encyclopedia, (1989). Musk Ox, Scott Fetzer Company Chicago,
Switzer, Merebeth, (1986). Musk Ox, Grolier Educational
Corporation, Danbury, Connecticut
here for more information on the Musk Ox!
Return to Mammal page.
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© copyright 1997
Last updated on March 12, 1998