Fairbanks Research Station 'LARS' welcomes seven musk oxen calves

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) It's Musk Ox-lovers favorite part of the year; birthing season at the Large Animal Research Station (LARS) in Fairbanks.

Seven Musk oxen calves were born at LARS over recent weeks, and all mothers and young-ins are healthy and well.

"We know we have one male and one female, but we don't know what the sexes are for the other calves, but we should be finding out next week, so we are pretty excited about that," Sarah Barcalow, lead animal care technician at LARS said.

"We are pretty pleased with Hazel because it was her first calf, and it was a very large, 30-pound calf and she managed to get it out, so we are pretty pleased that she is being such a great mom and her calf is healthy."

As in recent years, public suggestions will determine the names of the newest additions, which now roam the 130 acre facility on Yankovich Road.

LARS, which housed its first musk oxen in 1964 and is currently home to over 30, is the only captive research herd in the world, according to lead animal care technician Sarah Barcalow.

"We have a lot of international scientists who visit here and a lot of their research is stuff they can't do in the wild, but it pertains to larger projects that are dealing with wild populations," Barcalow said. "We breed every year for maximum genetic diversity." she added.

While LARS also hosts reindeer that recently welcomed calves, it is the musk oxen that are the fan favorites who always steal the show.

"These guys look prehistoric, they sound prehistoric, I mean, they have been around since the last ice age," Barcalow said. "It is really cool to be able to come in Fairbanks and see them up close. I think as people learn more about the herd here, they really enjoy getting to know the individual animals, because musk oxen, they do have very strong personalities and are not afraid to let you know who they are."

LARS still hopes to have a summer tour season, although Barcalow says but it may become virtual, or a different version of what they have conducted in the past.

Those looking for more information and updates on what is happening at the Large Animal Research Station can visit https://www.uaf.edu/lars/ or visit their Facebook page: "LARS - Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station".

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