TWO new girls who are certain to make their presence felt arrived at the Highland Wildlife Park over the weekend (Saturday 14th January).
Bad-tempered, aggressive, quick and very strong, these new Arctic females are polar titans whose species even outlived the woolly mammoth.
After a short settling-in period, visitors to the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie, Inverness-shire, will soon be able to see the only two Musk Ox in the whole of the UK.
Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager at the Highland Wildlife Park, said: “It has been 24 years since Musk Ox were last imported into the UK, and we are delighted to bring these powerful, prehistoric mammals back into the country. It’s a real coup for us here.
“Musk Ox, even females, are notoriously aggressive and the keepers will need to exercise the same level of care as they do when working with the polar bear or the tigers. Tremendously hot tempered during the breeding season, males, who can weigh up to 350kg, can bend heavy steel with their reinforced head – definitely not an animal you want to get too close to.
“Because of their inherently destructive and aggressive nature we have designed and built a fairly specialised facility for our two new girls. One of the requirements was to anchor the fence posts under the ground, as this prevents these super-strong beasts lifting up the enclosure fencing with their horns, should the mood take them.
“Not a straightforward animal introduction, we’re going to give the females a short time to settle into their new home before they go on display. Later this year we’ll also be delighted to introduce a bull Musk Ox, which is when the real fun will begin!”