Ovibos moschatus, musk ox

1/200s at f18.0, ISO:2000, Canon EOS-1D X w/800mm, x1.4 converter

In modern times, muskoxen were restricted to the Arctic areas of Canada, Greenland, and the United States. The Alaskan population was wiped out in the late 19th or early 20th century. Their depletion has been attributed to excessive hunting, but an adverse change in climate may have contributed. However, muskoxen have since been reintroduced to Alaska. During the summer, muskoxen live in wet areas, such as river valleys, moving to higher elevations in the winter to avoid deep snow. Muskoxen will eat grasses, arctic willows, woody plants, lichens, and mosses. When food is abundant, they prefer succulent and nutritious grasses in an area. Willows are the most commonly eaten plants in the winter. Muskoxen require a high threshold of fat reserves in order to conceive, which reflects their conservative breeding strategy. Winter ranges typically have shallow snow to reduce the energy costs of digging through snow to reach forage. The primarily predators of muskoxen are Arctic wolves, which may account for up to half of all mortality for the species. Other predators, likely primarily of calves or infirm adults, can include grizzly bears and polar bears.
Nome, AK