A Little History
The Robert G. White - Large Animal Research Station (LARS) is situated on 134 acres of land just north of the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The land was the original homestead of the Yankovich family, who deeded the land to the University in 1963. In 1964, John Teal began his muskox domestication project on the property with a herd of 33 animals captured from Nunivak Island. In 1974 this original herd was moved to Unalakleet and later to Palmer where the Musk Ox Farm was established under the direction of the Musk Ox Development Corporation.
In 1979, the Large Animal Research Station was founded in its current capacity through a major grant from the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs.
The goal of LARS is to establish a colony of muskoxen that are available for nutritional, physiological, and behavioral research.
LARS also serves in an educational and outreach capacity, providing the opportunity to introduce students of all ages to wildlife and wildlife research. Thousands of people from around the world visit LARS each year during the summer tourism program.
Mike Yankovich was a farmer, experimenting in Siberian wheat. Farming the precursor of the Muskox Farm, known today as the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station, he used to enjoy bringing milk for kajmac, the soft Montenegrin cheese of his youth, to various Yugoslavian families.
Dr. Robert G. White, associate professor of Zoophysiology, was the principal investigator that had been awarded a $411,000 grant by NSF for the research on the new musk ox project.
Professor Teal, a rugged man who stood more than six feet tall, once said. ''The true name of the beast is ovibos. It is halfway between a sheep and a cow. The meat is better than beef, the wool is the lightest and softest known, and the milk is as good as cow's milk.''
Teal Historical Video: