Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) are native to Alaska though the entire Alaskan population was wiped out
as a result of hunting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were re-introduced to Alaska in the mid 1930’s from populations in Greenland. Their name is derived from the musky smell omitted by males to attract female breeding partners. Breeding generally takes place between July and October. Bull muskox stand 5′ tall at the shoulder and average 600-800lbs in weight while females stand 4′ at the shoulder and weigh in at 400-500lbs. Muskox are bovids and like common cattle have a chambered digestive system called a rumen. When I was a boy I was told cows, for instance, had a four chambered stomach but it works a bit differently than a human stomach. The rumen essentially ferments the often carbohydrate rich and protein deficient vegetation consumed by muskox in order to extract the difficult to reach nutrients.
The lone bull in the photo likely left his herd due its old age or was forced out by a dominant male after breeding season . Lone muskox will sometimes return to herds after breeding or in times of danger. The herd in the video has 4 yearlings among this 20+ herd of muskox. Several females among the herd in the video could very likely have been gestating. The video was recorded August 31, 2011 ~80 miles north of where the above photo was taken on September 3, 2012. It could be that this bull photographed this year was part of the herd I filmed the previous year but that is speculation because not much is actually known about the range of muskox.