Research Animals at LARS
During prehistoric times, the muskox was distributed around the globe. Since the last ice age, muskoxen have died off in Europe and Asia, mostly due to fluctuations in the climate. Indigenous populations now only live in Canada and Greenland. Muskoxen disappeared from Alaska during the late 1800s.
In an effort to reintroduce the species to Alaska, 34 young muskoxen were captured in Greenland in 1930 and brought to the Fairbanks area. The animals were then transferred to Nunivak Island, where by the late 1960s there were over 700 muskoxen. Small populations were transplanted back to the mainland of Alaska, in the Seward peninsula, Kotzebue Sound, and the Arctic Slope, and have multiplied. There are an estimated 4,000 muskoxen in Alaska and an estimated global population of 140,000 muskoxen in Alaska, Greenland, Canada, and Siberia combined.
Reindeer were domesticated in northern Scandinavia by Native people over 2,000 years ago. They raised reindeer to provide food and transportation. Reindeer were brought to Alaska around 1900 in an attempt to provide Alaska Natives with a stable food source.
Four steers (castrated males) came to live at LARS in 2016 as part of the UAF/CSU Veterinary Medicine program housed under the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has partnered with Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. UAF annually admits 10 students into the program where students do their first two years at UAF then move to Colorado for their final two years. Admission to the veterinary medicine program at Colorado State is open to all students.