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Musk oxen seen around Bethel area

Posted: December 5, 2013 - 1:12am

ANCHORAGE — Musk oxen have been seen for the first time from the town of Bethel.

More than 20 of the large, shaggy animals have been seen since Sunday across the Kuskokwim River from Bethel, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Bea Kristovich, a lifelong Bethel resident, first saw them from a window of her waterfront home after her next-door neighbor called her and told her to look outside. The 72-year-old woman hurried outside to get a better look.

“To tell you the truth, I was so thrilled,” Kristovich said. “I never thought I’d see the day that we’d see musk ox right in Bethel.”

No specific incidents about the animals have been reported, but some people have gotten too close with motor vehicles, according to Patrick Jones, a state wildlife biologist.

The strong curiosity among locals prompted Alaska State Troopers to issue a musk oxen safety advisory on Tuesday.

Troopers say people should take safety measures to view the animals.

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