We’ve had about 3-4 more musk ox show up this summer. I believe in August there were some passing Chuathbaluk and Napaimute.
Comments from LEO Editors:
This is the third post that LEO has received about muskox (Ovibos moschatus) roaming outside their known range. In 2017, Patricia sent us a post that residents observed three muskox wandering through Chuathbaluk. At that time, rumor had it that muskox had been seen downriver in Kalskag in the past but had never traveled so far up the river before. This year, a local resident of Manakotak witnessed a muskox around the community, and another was documented by staff at the Togiak wildlife refuge.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, muskox can usually be found along northern parts of the coast, around the Seward Peninsula, the Delta coast, as well as Nunivak and Nelson Islands. This repeat observation from Patricia is particularly interesting because single bull muskox without a harem during mating season are known to travel great distances before rejoining the herd in winter. In a KDLG news article discussing the muskox sighting in Manakotak, ADF&G biologist Pat Jones noted that bulls will often show up in an area first, followed by cows 5-10 years later. Seeing muskox in the same area over the course of several years may indicate a range expansion. Erica Lujan