Highland Wildlife Park’s female Musk-ox, Karin, has given birth to the Zoo's first ever Musk-ox calf. Born on Wednesday, May 15th, little Belle has spent her first few weeks of life off-show with mom, but has now started to venture out into her outdoor enclosure.
Belle’s mother Karin was born in the Czech Republic in 2002 and came to the Park only 18 months ago in January 2012. Three-year-old father Myse arrived a few months later in May.
Belle is not only a little cutie, but this hooved newbie is also a significant step in the Musk-ox breeding program– she is the first Musk-ox to be born in the UK in 17 years, an important achievement for the Zoo’s expert animal husbandry team.
Musk-oxen have an extremely thick coat which consists of two parts: long course outer hairs and a soft dense undercoat called qiviut (pronounced kiv-ee-ut). Qiviut wool is highly prized for its softness, length, and insulation; it is considered to be one of the lightest and warmest wools in the world.