Growth of wild muskoxen under two nutritional regimes in Greenland


  • Carsten Riis Olesen Department of Wildlife Ecology, National Environmental Research Institute, Kalø, DK-8410 Rønde, Denmark
  • Henning Thing Danish Polar Centre, Strandgade 100 H, DK-1401 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • Peter Aastrup Greenland Environmental Research Institute, Tagensvej 135, 4 DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark



muskox, nutrition, muskoxen, Greenland


Growth of muskoxen in Jameson Land, East Greenland (EG) and in Angujaartorfiup Nunaa, West Greenland (WG) is affected by the different nutritional conditions in the two areas. The abundance and availability of forage plants is highest in WG. Muskoxen in WG reach sexual maturity one year earlier than muskoxen in EG. A significant proportion of female muskoxen in WG conceive at the age of 16 months and give birth to their first calf as two years olds. The horn bases of the muskox bulls in WG are fully developed during their third year of life, but their maximum body weight (BW) is attained at the age of six. Average BW of adult bulls (4 yr+) in WG is 306 kg which is 23 % greater than in adult bulls in EG. BW is seasonally more variable in EG than in WG owing to greater seasonal fluctuation in food supply.




How to Cite

Olesen, C. R., Thing, H., & Aastrup, P. (1994). Growth of wild muskoxen under two nutritional regimes in Greenland. Rangifer, 14(1), 3–10.