The largest land mammal in Greenland
The musk ox is the largest land mammal in Greenland. When approaching Kangerlussuaq you may be lucky enough to get a unique glimpse of one of the many herds of musk oxen in the area. From the plane they can look like large brown stony knolls - until they begin moving, and then you know that they are musk oxen weighing up to 400 kilos (880 lbs) each.
Musk oxen at Kangerlussuaq
You do not have to venture far from the airport area in Kangerlussuaq before there are good chances of seeing the large animals at closer range. The most obvious method is to go on a musk ox safari. A slightly more spectacular alternative a few years ago was to see Willy, an enormous bull, on the runway itself. Fortunately this is no longer possible as neither Willy nor other members of his species have access to the airport anymore. At Kangerlussuaq Museum you can learn more about Willy's fate.
The long-bearded ox
Directly translated, Umimmak, the Greenlandic name for the musk ox, means "the long-bearded one". This long "beard" is one of the things that can be used by the Greenlanders. The musk ox's innermost coat, the wool layer, can be used to make a wealth of exclusive handicrafts and clothing.