Did you know that each year the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station celebrates the arrival of new muskox and reindeer babies?
Did you know that each year the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station celebrates the arrival of new muskox and reindeer babies? A birthday party to welcome them into the herd is held every year in early June. This year’s party is on June 4.
These cuddly creatures join the herds at LARS to be raised and cared for as part of UAF’s student veterinary training, biological sciences, and other programs.
Muskoxen typically give birth to one calf in the spring. Calves may be cute and fuzzy in infancy but they don’t stay little for long. These babies, born after an eight month gestation period, come into the world at a whopping 19-25 lbs. and will grow to between 396-881 lbs. as adults, with females weighing in on the lower portion of that range and males weighing more.
The research station also welcomed reindeer calves this spring. LARS currently houses a herd of more than 40 reindeer on its 134-acre research farm. Reindeer calves weigh between 13-17 lbs. at birth and grow 120-300 lbs. for females and 140-530 lbs. for males.
The Large Animal Research Station serves as a home to muskoxen, reindeer, cattle and recently a herd of wood bison that arrived from Canada to stay at the farm for observation and quarantine on its way to a relocation site in the Lower Yukon-Innoko Rivers area.
These herds are maintained for a wide variety of research and educational projects including reproduction, nutrition, and are valuable for research on fundamental biological principles, biomedical sciences, validating and teaching wildlife and protocols, as well as evaluating and developing their use in Alaska agriculture. The station is also a popular spot for visitors and guided tours are held daily from late May to mid-September.
LARS will host its annual Birthday Bash from 12-4 p.m. Saturday, June 4. This event is free and open-to-the-public and an opportunity for community members to tour the research station and see the babies for themselves. More information can be found here.