When Mr. Bovid Meets Mr. Cervid by Accident

Elk meets muskox - photo by Doug Lindstrand
I wasn’t on campus yesterday when one of our younger bull elk jumped an eight foot perimeter fence surrounding his enclosure. He found himself face to face with a muskox. The muskox was in his own paddock with his caprine herd-mates looking on.

Our staff photographer, Doug Lindstrand, was on site to capture footage of the standoff that ensued between the elk and a very concerned and formidable muskox bull. The elk was eventually corralled back into his enclosure.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center has two subspecies of North American elk — the Rocky Mountain and Roosevelt subspecies.

Photo by Doug Lindstrand

Elk were introduced to Alaska. Muskox were reintroduced to the state after they were extirpated through hunting in the late 19th century. They would not encounter each other in the wild.

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Jordan Schaul is a conservation biologist and an animal curator with the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Anchorage, Alaska. He received his PhD in conservation medicine from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in zoology. He is a council member (ex officio) of the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), a member of the coordinator committee for the Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and an advisor to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Jordan also serves as the Correspondent Editor and Captive Bear News Correspondent for International Bear News. He is a member of the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society, which promotes high standards for wild carnivore care and welfare among private sanctuaries in North America. Jordan is the creator of the Zoo Peeps brand (www.zoopeeps.info) which hosts a blog for the global zoo and aquarium community and a wildlife conservation oriented radio program. Jordan is also an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Jordan can be reached at jordan [at] alaskawildlife [dot] org or at http://about.me/jordan_schaul.