Large Animal Research Station
Thousands of visitors each year are able to enjoy a unique opportunity to meet and mingle with muskoxen, caribou and domestic reindeer in a naturalized setting free of ubiquitous “touristy” trappings thanks to this expertly guided 45-minute summer walking tour of the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station. Situated on a beautiful old homestead near the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, “LARS” - funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs - opened in 1979 with the intent of establishing a captive colony of muskoxen that would be available for nutritional, physiological and behavioral research.
The station consists of a centralized handling facility, equipment for large animal restraint, a laboratory, a metabolic research building, state of the art classroom, feed and bedding storage units, offices and living quarters on 134 acres – half pasture and half stunning boreal forest. A viewing area open year-round and a series of informational displays assist in guests’ introduction to this native animal – a relic from the last ice age that had all but vanished from the Alaskan landscape – and its cohorts; about 30 muskoxen and 60 caribou and reindeer, including adorable newborns call the scenic property home. At LARS, “qiviut”– the amazingly downy underwool produced by muskoxen to keep them toasty warm through brutal arctic winters - is skillfully combed from the gentlest animals before careful processing into small batches of delicate yarn softer than cashmere; aficionados will find limited quantities available for purchase in the gift shop.
View this post on Instagram