The newest baby at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Hudson, is 3 months old with brown eyes and gray fur. He drinks two bottles of formula a day and weighs a whopping 140 pounds.
The shaggy male muskox arrived late last week from the Large Animal Research Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he was born and later rejected by his mother.
Muskoxen like Hudson are from the bovidae family, commonly associated with bison, buffalo, and domestic cattle. They are generally found in colder areas like Greenland, Alaska, and northern Canada – particularly the Hudson Bay area of Canada that prompted zoo staff’s name for the calf – though climate change is quickly affecting their natural habitat.
“We are thrilled for Hudson to make his new home at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium,” said Shannon Smith, senior staff biologist at the zoo. “These are ancient animals with a rich history, and they help teach our visitors about ways in which animals adapt to survive in some of the world’s harshest climates.”
With a growth rate of 2 pounds per week, the zoo staff expects to take Hudson off his formula bottles in the coming weeks leaving him with a diet of timothy hay as well as a specially formulated herbivore chow which will help him grow as large as 5 feet tall, weighing more than 800 pounds.
Hudson is joining long-time zoo resident, 13-year-old Mya in the muskoxen yard to continue the zoo’s 35-year muskoxen tradition. Additionally, the zoo plans to bring in a 2-year-old female and a 4-year-old male in the coming weeks.
Hudson made his public debut August 2nd at the zoo’s muskoxen yard and will be available for guest viewing during zoo hours from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.