Palmer's Musk Ox Farm, in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough north of Alaska's largest city, welcomed Jasper on Thursday, the first baby of the season. At birth, musk oxen weigh 18 to 24 pounds, and mother Aquarius was soon busy licking and tending to Japser, who worked to stand. The farm is a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve the animal that dates back to the ice age. Musk oxen once roamed the tundra beside such creatures as the wooly mammoth and saber-toothed tiger. The name musk ox name comes from the strong odor emitted by males to attract females during the seasonal rut.Musk oxen are more closely related to sheep and goats than oxen. Modern-day musk oxen are believed to have migrated from Siberia to North America up to 200,000 years ago. Along with the bison and the pronghorn, the musk ox is one of the few North American species to survive the Pleistocene/Holocene extinction event and to live to the present day. It is thought to have survived by finding ice-free areas away from prehistoric peoples.In the 1940s and 1950s, musk oxen were close to extinction. John Teal started the Musk Ox Project in Alaska to save the animals valued for their warm and soft fur. The first domestic musk ox farm was started in Fairbanks in 1965. As the herd grew each year, their qiviut was combed and spun into exquisitely soft yarn for garments. Today, the farm is located in the Matanuska Valley near Palmer, where you can go visit the new baby ox.In 2000, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska was home to about 4,000 musk oxen. In recent years, herds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and adjoining areas have declined. Alaska's musk ox harvest has increased steadily in recent years, growing from 98 animals in 2003 to 258 by 2007. Males and females both have horns, but those of the bulls are larger. Males can weigh up to 800 pounds, while cows seldom reach 500 pounds. They eat a variety of plants, including grasses, sedges, forbs, and woody plants.