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Dozens of Musk Oxen Found Dead Near Bering Strait

03/23/2011 Leave a comment

“The National Park Service says 32 musk oxen were found dead and frozen into ice on the northern coast of the Seward Peninsula after a flood last week. The deaths were discovered during a March 15 flight to track four radio-collared oxen in the herd.

Park Service officials say the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve herd included 55 animals when it was last seen on Feb. 14, and that the other animals could be submerged in the ice. A Feb. 25 winter storm generated a tidal surge and coastal flooding that rapidly inundated low-lying areas.

The musk oxen were tagged as part of a five-year study of the animals’ population dynamics in northwest Alaska.

The flooding and deaths are being investigated by the Park Service, which is also leading an effort to minimize conflicts between wildlife drawn to the area and local communities. Officials say the removal of musk ox horns from federal parklands is illegal, and that the dead animals’ meat is likely neither salvageable nor palatable.”  Source.

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