A visit to The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska

If you’d like to learn all about musk ox and see them up close (no touchy though!) a visit to The Musk Ox Farm is in order.

A Visit to The Musk Ox Farm

welcome to the musk ox farm sign.

We have some mixed feelings about visiting The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska. As vegans, we’re not down with using animals and confining them for our purposes.

gift shop for the musk ox farm.

But, at least the Musk Ox Farm isn’t raising these animals for meat. They harvest Qiviut, their soft underwool, which is highly prized for its warmth. The Qiviut is gently combed from the musk ox with an afro pick in the summer months when they shed it naturally anyway. People use the fibers in similar ways to sheep’s wool.

close up of a musk ox at the musk ox farm.

The whole idea behind the Musk Ox Farm is to domesticate the animals enough that far north Alaskan natives could keep them as a sustainable farming practice. There are very few opportunities for far north peoples and raising animals already suited to the environment makes sense for them.

a visit to the musk ox farm in palmer alaska.

musk ox at the water trough in palmer alaska.

So, we get that this visit might be controversial for some vegans. But we also understand that not all cultures have the same opportunities we do.

The tour was thorough, and we learned so much about musk ox! They are not oxen, but more closely related to goats and sheep.

resting musk ox at the musk ox farm.

musk ox at the musk ox farm in palmer alaska.

a chart of musk ox behaviors.

The musk ox population in Alaska was utterly wiped out in the late 19th or early 20th century. Thankfully they have been reintroduced into several wildlife refuges, preserves, and national parks.

young musk ox at the musk ox farm.

While a visit to The Musk Ox Farm was informative, we’d love to see musk ox in the wild someday. They’re usually pretty remote so that may not be in the cards.

Next post: we travel to Girdwood and ride the tram

Check out all the posts in our Alaska 2018 adventure here.

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Laura Nunemaker

About the Author

Laura Nunemaker

vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.

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