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BETHEL (AP) — A man riding his snowmobile in western Alaska said he came across an "unbelievable" sight — a pack of wild dogs attacking a young muskox.
Jimmie Lincoln was riding near the small community of Toksook Bay on Tuesday when he witnessed three or four big, black and aggressive-looking dogs taking down what appeared to be a yearling without horns, KYUK-AM reported .
"I saw these stray dogs or wild dogs attacking this poor muskox," Lincoln said.
Lincoln started yelling at the dogs but drove away when one started growling at him, he said. Dogs taking down a muskox is unheard of in the town.
"This was my first time ever seeing anything like this besides National Geographic," Lincoln said.
The dogs were still attacking when Lincoln returned about a half-hour later. He went back to the scene of the attack the next morning, finding the muskox still alive and one of the dogs shot. The other dogs were gone.
Patrick Jones, wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game, said he has heard of dogs killing moose, caribou and a days-old muskox calf, but nothing like this attack.
"This is the first time I'm aware of dogs actually working together in a pack and killing an animal that seems to be at least a year old," Jones said.
Most encounters between the two species have involved tied-up dogs getting killed by muskox, Jones said.
Jones said people should let nature take its course, noting that the meat from the muskox is unsalvageable. The Arctic animal was under tremendous stress, so its meat likely wouldn't taste good, he said. The dogs also could have infected it with disease.