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Muskox, Dovrefjell, Norway

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Muskox fight (Ovibos moschatus), NORWAY/DOVREFJELL-SUNNDALSFJELLA NATIONAL PARK. The muskox was one of the typical tundra species that lived together with reindeer, woolly rhinoceros and mammoth on the tundras of the Ice age. These large grazers and browsers were easy to hunt, and therefore quickly exterminated by early Man. The mammoth and woolly rhino disappeared forever, but the muskox survived in the extreme north of Greenland and Canada, and over the last few decades has been re-introduced to several sites in Scandinavia, western Greenland and the Russian tundra. Like here in Dovrefjell. An incredible survivor, this relative of the goat lives from minute creeping willow bushes and grass, while enduring wintertime temperatures of minus 40° or lower.  Their eyes have a specially built retina to handle the extreme amounts of ultraviolet light in the Arctic environment.  The main predator on muskox, apart from Man, is the wolf, against which they form a defensive circle to protect their calves.