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Musk Ox Versus Man

Stories of bear attacks abound, and there even may be people around who tell of having been kicked by a moose. But there are few neighborhoods, like ours, that can boast of a resident who has been gored by a musk ox.

Musk ox are not generally known as aggressive animals. In fact, they are famous for the passivity of their defense tactic: they simply form a ring around their young when danger threatens.

So how does one get gored by a musk ox? Ask Dr. David Klein, Professor of Wildlife Management at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Professor Klein has learned that female musk ox are to be managed carefully.

Dr. Klein was helping several others move the musk ox from one holding pen to another after she had undergone a natural abortion. Apparently, the hormone changes in an animal mother when giving birth can tend to make her somewhat irascible as well as more protective of her young. While Dr. Klein was pushing on her trying to get her to move, the cow swung her head quickly enough to dig her sharp horn into his leg.

Another participant in the action, Dr. Robert White, said he didn't think it was all that exciting. He claimed that Dr. Klein and the musk ox were just leaning against each other so hard that the cow's horn sort of poked a hole in Dr. Klein's leg.

Well, they say that there are two sides to every issue. I guess one's view just depends upon who's leg the ox gored.

Anyway, it is known that single musk ox can be quite dangerous. An isolated musk ox will attack an intruder out in the open. Within recent years, a man in Norway was killed by a musk ox when he approached it closely for photographs.