19 Oct '15, 10am
Alaska allows mercy killing by hunters for musk oxen stranded on floating ice
The stocky, long-haired mammals weigh between 500-800 pounds each, so a rescue operation would be quite an undertaking, considering the animals are easily spooked. In order to rescue a stranded muskox while alive, one can imagine that a team of veterinarians with literal boatloads of tranquilizers might be needed. Alaska big game officials decided that allowing hunters to put these animals out of their misery was the best solution to this unusual problem. Although experts say that musk oxen get stranded just once every few years, it’s reasonable to assume that the incidents will increase, as global warming causes ice floes to melt and crack at a faster rate , especially along the shoreline where musk oxen roam.