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seldom cam within the Golden Gate, but now it is a very common thing for passengers on the Oakland boats to see
their mischievous-looking heads rise from the water with a large lish in the mouth they give it a shake, bite out a
piece, drop it, and then, diving again, catch it, and rising to the surface, take another nibble until it is consumed. It
is certain that something should be done to diminish their numbers. If the legislature was to ofl'er a royalty of from
75 cents to 91 per skin, it is thought by many interested in our fish supply that it would be an economical act. As it
in now, the Sea Lions are protected by law no one being allowed to molest or kill one within a mile of the Cliff House.
An erlb- 1 has been made ou several occasions to repeal this law, but at the first intimation of anything in that direction,
the lobby in Sacramento has been re-enforced by delegations from a certain stratum of society which history tells us
has had more or less influence with legislation since the days of Marc Antony. The consequence is, the law is still
upon the statute-books, and the Sea Lions coutinue'to increase, while the fish supply proportionately decreases. San
Francisco Call, November 1U.

'"The enormous quantity of food which would be required to maintain t lie herd of many thousands, which, in
toimer years, annually assembled at the small island of Santa Barbara, would seem incredible, if they daily obtained
the allowance given to a male and female Sea Lion on exhibition at Woodward's Gardens, San Francisco, California,
where the keeper informed me that he fed them regularly, every day, forty pounds of fresh lish "

[That the destruction offish by the Sea Lions ou the coast of California is very great is indicated by the following
item, which recently went the rounds of the newspapers: "In a recent meeting at San Francisco of the Senate
Committee on Fisheries, the State Fish Commissioners, and a committee representing the fishermen of the coast, the
i| next ion as to the destructive performances of the Sea Lions in the harbor was actively discussed. One of the fishermen's
representatives said that it was estimated that there were 25,000 Sea Lions within a radius of a few miles, consuming
from ten to forty pounds each of fish per day; the Sea Lions were protected while the fishermen were harassed by the
game laws. Another witness declared that salmon captured in the Sacramento Uiver often bore the marks of injury
finni Si'ji I. ions, having barely escaped with life; but it was supposed that the salmon less frequently fell victims to
the a in | ih i In an than did other fishes that cannot swim as fast." Country, January 26, 1878.]

"[This account appeared originally in Captain Scammon's account of the "Islands oft' (lie West Coast of Lower
California," in J. Hoss Browne's " Resources of the Pacific Slope," second part, p. 1!K) (1869), and has been quoted by
Mr. Gurney in the "Zoologist" for 1871, p. 2762.]
Marine Mammalia, pp. KM) -l:ir>.




T1H-] NOKTI1KKN I'll; SKAL O1J SKA I'.KAK.

howls like the animal at the Kara Hones or Santa Barbara. Young and old, Ix.tli >e\e>.

year and upward, have only a deep baxx growl, and prolonyed, slcudy roar; while at Sun Fram i-,-i.

Sea Lions break out incessantly with a 'honking' bark or howl, and never roar."

The California Sea Lion is now a somewhat well-known animal with the public, various individ-
uals having been at di fie rent times on exhibition at the Central Park Menagerie in New York City,
and at the Zoological Gardens at Philadelphia and Cincinnati, as well as Woodward's (iardeus
in San Krancisco. They have also formed part of the exhibition of different traveling shows,
especially that of P. T. Baruum. They have also been carried to Europe, where examples have
lived for several years at the Zoological Gardens of London, Paris, and elsewhere. Their peculiar
"honking" bark, referred to by Mr. Elliott, is hence not unfamiliar to many who have never met
with i he animal in a state of nature. Their various attitudes and mode of life on the Faralloncs
have also been made familiar to many by the extensive sale of stereoscopic views of the animals
and their surroundhigs. The Sea Lions that have been exhibited in this country all, or nearly all,
belong to the present species, although often wrongly labeled " Eumetopias Stelkri." The true E.
MvUi'ri has, however, at least in one instance, been exhibited in Eastern cities.

22. THE NORTHERN FUR SEAL OR SEA BEAR.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND MIGRATION. The Fur Seal, Callorhinun ursinw (Linn6)
Gray, is well known to have been formerly abundant on the western coast of North America,
as far south as California, but the exact southern limit of its range I have been unable to
determine. Captain Scammon speaks of having seen them " on one of the San Benito Islands, on
the coast of Lower California," and again says, " On the coast of California many beaches were
found fronting gullies, where [Fur] Seals in large numbers formerly gathered ; and, as they frhere
had plenty of ground to retreat upon, the sealers sometimes drove them far enough back to make
sure of the whole herd, or that portion of them the skins of which were desirable." 1 lie also states
that the " Fur Seal and Sea Elephant once made the shores [of Guadalupe Island] a favorite re-
sorting place," and refers to their former occurrence on Cedros Island, in latitude 28. z Although
at one time abundant on the California coast, they arc by no means numerous there now, having
been nearly exterminated by unrestricted destruction by the si alers. The writer above cited refers
also to their capture by the Indians at the month of the Strait of Juan do Fuca. The Seals appear
here and on the neighboring coast, he adds, "some years as early as the first of March, and more
,,i less remain till July or August; but they are most plentiful in April and May. During these
i uo months the Indians devote nearly all their time to sealing when the weather will permit." He
rc]>oi-ts their increase there in later years, and that while only a few dozens were annually taken
there from 1843 to 1864, fully ihe thousand were taken in 18C9. 3 Captain Bryant has given a
similar report, referring especially to their abundance along the coasts of Oregon, Washington Ter-
ritory, and British Columbia in 18C9, as compared with former years. He says those taken "were
mostly very young Seals, none appearing to be over a year old. Formerly in March and April the
natives of Puget Sound took large numbers of pregnant females, 4 but no places where they have
resorted to breed seem to be known off this coast." He thinks it probable, however, that they
may occupy rocky ledges off shore which are rarely visited by boats. 5 In his MS. report just

1 SCAMMON, C. M.: Tbe Marino Mammals of the Northwestern Coast, &c., pp. t!>2, 154.
*BROWXE, J. Ross: Resources of the Pacific Slope, second part, p. 126.
'SCAMMON, C. XI.: The Marinr .Mammals of the Northwemeni Coast, &c., p. 154.

Thero are six skulls iu the National Museum from Pnget Sound and the neighboring coast (collected at several
different points l>v Messrs. Scammon and Swan), all of wlicli arc femaltt.
'Bulletin MiiM-um Comparative Zoology, ii, p. 88.

4 F



50 NATURAL H1STOKY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

received he states that a half-breed hunter told him that he found in summer, " on Queen Chariot I c's
Island, groups of these animals consisting of two or more beach-masters with a dozen or more
females and pups, but uo half -grown males."

As is well known, the Pribylov or so-called " Fur Seal Islands," off the coast of Alaska, form
the great breeding-ground of the Fur Seals, to which hundreds of thousands annually resort to
bring forth their young. The Pribylov Group consists of four small islands, known respectively
as Saint Paul's, Saint George's, Otter, and Walrus Islands. The two last named are of small size,
and are not used as breeding-grounds by the Seals, although Otter Island is visited by a large
number of "non-breeding Seals." Saint Paul's Island is the largest, containing an area of about
thirty-three square miles, and having a coast line of about forty-two miles, nearly one half of which
is sand beach. Of this, sixteen and a half miles, according to Mr. Elliott, are occupied in the
breeding season by the Fur Seals. Saint George's Island is somewhat smaller, with only twenty -
uin miles of shore line. It presents a bold coast, a grand wall of basalt extending continuously
for ten miles, with no passageway from the sea. It has, in all, less than a mile of sand beach, and
only two and a quarter miles of eligible landing grounds for the Seals.

A few old male Fur Seals are said to make their appearance at the rookeries on these islands
between the 1st and 15th of May, they acting, as it were, the part of pioneers, since their number is
not much increased before the first of June. At about this date, and with the setting iu of the
humid, foggy weather of summer, the male Seals begin to land by "hundreds and thousands," to
await the arrival of the females, which do not appear before about July first. The young are born
soon after, and toward the last of this month the rookeries begin to lose their compactness and
definite boundaries, but they are not fully broken up till about the middle of September. The
Seals begin to leave the islands about the end of October, the greater proportion departing in
November, while some remain till the end of the following month, and even later.

The number of Fur Seals present on Saint Paul's Island iu July, 1872, was estimated by Mr.
Elliott to exceed three million, and on Saint George's Island iu July, 1873, at about one hundred
and sixty-three thousand. Although these islands form by far their most populous resorts, they
are said to occur in considerable numbers on some of the islands to the northward, but I am unable
to find definite statements as to their numbers or favorite stations. Mr. Elliott, after examining
Saint Matthew's and Saint Lawrence Islands, became convinced that they were not only not resorted
to as breeding stations by the Fur Seals, but that these islands, by their constitution and climatic
conditions, were unsuitable for this purpose, and adds, " it may be salely said that no land of ours
iu the north is adapted to the wants of that animal, except that of Saint Paul and Saint George."
Mr. W. H. Dall states that "they have never been found in Bering Strait, or within three hundred
miles of it." In early times these animals are well known to have been abundant on Behring's and
Copper Islands. According to Krascheninikow, they were so numerous upon Behriug's Island
about the middle of the last century as to cover the whole southern shore of the island. Their
range on the Asiatic coast is given by Steller and others as extending southward along the Kamt-
chatkan coast to the Kurile Islands. Krascheuinikow states that they appeared there, however,
only in spring and in September, none being seen there from the beginning of June till the end of
August, at which time he says they return from the south with their young. Von Schrenck speaks
of their occurrence in the Ochotsk Sea and the Tartarian Gulf as fur south as the forty-sixth degreo
of latitude, or to the southern point of Saghalicn Island. The natives reported to him (he occurrence
of great numl>crs of the animals on the eastern coast of that island. Captain Scaimnon also refers
to their abundance twenty years since on the eastern side of Haghalien.

Except during the season of reproduction, these animals appear to lead a wandering life, but
the extent and direction of their migrations are not yet well known. Steller spoke of their migra-



TIIK III; SKAI.: SI/K. AM) CKNKUAI. IMSToKY. 51

1 1. .us ;i.s being MS regular as those of tin- \ arm us kinds of sea fowl, and they arc rccoidcd as .irriving
with great regularity at the I'ribylov Islands, but where they pass the season of winter is still a
in, liter of conjecture.

Si/.i:. Mi. F.lliott has given d table showing the weight, size, aiid rate of growth of tlio Fur
s-.il. from the age of one week to six years, based ou actual weight and measurement, with an
estimate.of the si/.c and weight of specimens from eight to twenty years of age. From this table
it appears that the pups when a week old have a length of from twelve to fourteen inches, and a
weight of six to seven and a half pounds. At six months old the length is two feet and the weight
about thirty pounds. At one year the average length of six examples was found to be thirty-eight
inches, and the weight thirty-nine pounds, the males and females at this time being alike iu size
The average weight of thirty males at the age of two years is given as fifty-eight pounds, and the
length as forty live inches. Thirty-two males at the age of three years were found to give uu
average weight of eighty-seven pounds, and an average length of fifty-two inches. Ten males at
the age of four averaged one hundred and thirty-five pounds in weight, and fifty -eight inches in
length. A mean of five examples five years old is : weight, two hundred pounds; length, sixty-five
in. hes. Three males at six years gave a weight of two bundled and eighty pounds, and a length
of six feet. The estimated average weight of males from eight years and upward, when fat, is
given as four hundred to five hundred pounds, and the average length as six feet three inches
to six feet eight inches. Mr. Elliott further adds that the average weight of the female is from
eighty to eighty-five pounds, but that they range in weight from seventy five to one hundred and
twenty pounds, and that the five and six year old males, on their first appearance in May and
June, when fat and fresh, may weigh a third more than in July, or at the time those mentioned in
the table were weighed, which would thus indicate an average maximum weight of about three
hundred and seventy-five pounds for the six-year-old males. According, however, to my own
measurements of old males, from mounted and unmounted specimens, the length is between seven
and eight feet, and of a full grown female about four feet. Captain Bryant states that the males
attain mature si/e at about the sixth year, when their total length is from seven to eight feet, their
girth six tu seven feet, and their weight, when in full flesh, from five to seven hundred pounds.
The females, he says, are full grown at four years old, when they measure four feet in length, two
ami a half in girth, and weigh eighty to one hundred ]x>uuds. The yearlings, he says, weigh from
thirty to forty pounds. The relative size of the adults of both sexes and the young in well shown
iu the accompanying illustration drawn by Mr. Elliott.

(ir.NKUAL HISTORY. The northern Fur Seal was first made known to science by Steller, in
1751, under tJie name of Urnua marinm. During his visit to Kamtchatka and its neighboring
islands, in 1742, he met with these animals in great numbers at Bering's Island, where he spent
some time among them, and carefully studied their lutbits and anatomy, a detailed account of
which appeared in his celebrated memoir entitled "De Bestiis Marinis," in the Transactions of the
Saint Petersburg Academy for the year 1749.' This important essay was the source of nearly all of
the accounts of this animal that appeared prior to the beginning of the present decade. The
twenty eight quarto pages of Steller's memoir devoted to this species gave not only a detailed
account of its anatomy, with an extensive table of measurements, but also of its remarkable habits,
and figures of the animals themselves. A little later Krascheninikow, in his History of Kami
ehatka,-' under the name of "Sea Cat," gave also a long account of its habits, apparently baaed

'Nov. Cumin. A rail. Pet nip., ii. jip. :>:il-:i.>'.l. pi. xv, IT.'il. Thin, an in well known, is a |>H||I unions pnpcr, pub-
lished six \eais :ili. -i Seller's death, Sicllrr living nt'lVv.T November Ii, IT I."., while on Ins way from Siberia to Saint

. '1 lie ilc scrip: ion nl'ilie Sea Itear was written at lierin^'M Inland in May. l"4i.
'Hist. Kan.tehatka (Kuglwh edition), traiwlateil liom thr Knssian liy Janiea Grieve, pp. I23-13U, 1764.



52 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

mainly on Steller's notes, 1 but it embraces a few particulars not given in "DeBestiis Marinis."
Steller's description of the habits of this animal has been largely quoted by Buffoii, Pennant,
Schreber, Hamilton, and other general writers.

Buffon, Pennant, Schreber, Gmelin, and nearly all writers on the Pinnipeds, down to about
1820, confounded the northern Fur Seal with the Fur Seals of the Southern Hemisphere, blending
their history as that of a single species. Pe'rou, in 1816, first recognized it as distinct from its
southern allies, as it was so treated somewhat later by Demarest, Lesson, Fischer, Gray, and other
systematic writers, 2 but its distinctive characters were not clearly set forth till 1859, when Dr. J.
E. Gray described and figured its skull, and showed that the northern species was not even con-
generic with the Sea Bears of the south. Very few specimens of either the northern or southern
Sea Bears appear to have reached European museums prior to about that date, so that naturalists
had not previously been able to make a direct comparison of this species with any of its southern
affines. Dr. Gray, in referring to this point in 1859, wrote as follows: "I had not been able to see
a specimen of this species in any of the museums which I examined on the Continent or in England,
or to find a skull of the genus [Arctocephalus] from the North Pacific Ocean, yet I felt so assured,
from Ste'ler's description and the geographical position, that it must be distinct from the Eared
Fur Seals from the Antarctic Ocean and Australia, with which it had usually been confounded,
that in my 'Catalogue of Seals in the Collection of the British Museum' [1850] I regarded it as a
distinct species, under the name of Arctocephalus ursinus, giving an abridgment of Steller's descrip
tiou as its specific character." "The British Museum," he adds, "has just received, under the name
Otaria leonina, from Amsterdam, a specimen [skull and skin] of the Sea Bear from Bering's Straits,
which was obtained from Saint Petersburg"; 3 which is the specimen already spoken of as figured
by Dr. Gray. From the great differences existing between this skull and those of the Southern Sea
Bears, Dr. Gray, a few weeks later, separated the northern species from the genus Arctocephalus,
under the name Callorhinus. 4

It seems, however, that there were two skulls of Steller's Sea Bear in the Berlin Museum as
early as 1841, 5 and three skeletons of the same species in the Museum of Munich in 1849, 6 yet
Dr. Gray appears to have been the first to compare this animal with its southern relatives, and to
positively decide its affinities.

Misled, however, by erroneous information respecting specimens of Eared Seals received at the
British Museum from California, a skin of the Callorhinus ursinus was doubtfully described by this
author, in the paper in which the name CaUorhinus was proposed, as that of his Arctocephalus
monteriensi*, which is a Hair Seal. This skin was accompanied by a young skull, purporting, by the
label it bore, to belong to it, but Dr. Gray observes that otherwise he should have thought it too
small to have belonged to the same animal. Seven years later, 7 he described the skull as that of
a new species (Arctocephalus californianw), still associating with it, however, the skin of the

1 Krascheninikow, it is stated, "received all of Mr. S teller's papers" to aid him in the preparation of his "History
of Kamtchatka."

-Xilsson and Miillcr in 1841, and Wagner in 1846 and 1849, on the other hand, still considered all the Sea Hears
as belonging to a single species. Wagner, in 1849 (Arch, filr Natnrg., 1849, pp. 37-49) described the osteological char-
acters of the northern species from three skeletons in the Munich Museum received from Bering's Sea. One of these
was apparently that of a full-grown femalo; a second was believed to bo that of a half- grown male, while the third
belonged to a very young animal, in which the permanent teeth were still not wholly developed. Wagner compares
the species with Steller's Sea Lion, and with the figures of the skulls of the southern Sea Bears given by F. Cuvier,
Blainville, and Quoy and Qaimard, and notes varions differences iu the form of the teeth and skull, but believes that
these differences must be regarded as merely variations dependent upon age.

'QUAY, J. E., in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1859, p. 10-2.

4 GRAY, J. E., in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1859, p. 359.

See Archiv fUr Natnrgesch., 1841, p. 334.

'GRAY, J. E., in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 849, p. 39.

7 <;KAT, J. E., Catalogue of the Seals and Whales iu the British Museum, 1866, p. 51.



THK I'll; SKA I,: FK1URES.

iirxiiiux. The skull lie subsequently considered ;is that of a .young .1. inontcrien*iM
(=Enmctoi>i<m Sti'llcri); and referring bis A. fdli/ornianiin to that species, ho was consequently led
into the double error of regarding the Eumctapiaa Stelleri us a Fur Seal (as already explained under
thatspeeies and elsewhere in tbo present paper), and of excluding tbo Callorhinu* urxinus from Ilio
list of Fur Seals. To this I called attention in 1870, and in 1871 Dr. Gray correctly referred his A.
mmttrriciixis and A. caUfornianun in part (tbo "skin only") to Callorhinu* itrxiniui. 1

What may be termed the second or modern epoch in tbo general history of this species began
in 18(i!t, when Captain C. M. Scammon published a highly important contribution to its biology, 2 ho
deseribing at considerable length, from personal observation, its habits, distribution, and products,
as well as the various methods employed for its capture. The following year Mr. W. II. Dull
devoted a few pages 8 to its history, in which ho made many important suggestions relative to
the sealing business. During the sumo year I was able to add not only something to its technical
history, 1 but also to make public an important communication on its habits kindjy placed at my
disposal by Captain Charles Bryant, 5 government agent in charge of the Fur Seal Islands of
Alaska. In 1874, Captain Scammon republished his above mentioned paper, 6 adding thereto a
transcript of Captain Bryant's observations already noted. Almost simultaneously with this
appeared Mr. II. \V. Elliott's exhaustive Report on the Seal Islandsof Alaska, 1 in which the present
species properly comes in for a large share of the author's attention. The work is richly
illustrated with photographic plates, taken from Mr. Elliott's sketches, about twenty five of which
are devoted to' the Fur Seal. The text of this rare and privately distributed work has been since
reprinted, 8 with some changes and additions, and has been widely circulated. It contains very
little relating to the Fur Seal that is strictly technical, but the general history of its life at the
I'ribylov Islands is very fully told, while the commercial or economic phase of the subject is treated
at length. A few minor notices of this species have since appeared (mostly popular articles in
illustrated magazines, chiefly from the pen of Mr. Elliott), but nothing relating to its general history
requiring special notice in the present connection, until the publication, in 1881, by the Census
Bureau and the Fish Commission, of the I wo editions of Mr. Elliott's elaborate monograph of
tbo Seal Islands of Alaska. 9

FIGURES. The first figures of the Northern Sea Bear were given by Stellcr, in bis p. per already
cited. They represent an adult male, in a quite natural attitude, and a female reclining on her back.
In respect to details, these early figures were naturally more or less rude and inaccurate. They



1 GRAY, J. E. : Supplementary Catalogue of the Seals and Whales, p. 15 ; Hand-List of Seal*, p. ::-.

SCAMMON, C. M., in the Overland Monthly, vol. iii,Nov.,18ffi).pp. H93-399.

DALL, WILLIAM H.: Alaska and its Resources, 1870, pp. 492-498.

'Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, ii, pp. 73-89.

'Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, pp. 89-108.

"ScAMMON, C. M. : The Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast, <Jtc., 1874, pp. 141-163.

7 KI.IJOTT, HENRY W.: Report on the Prybilov Group, or Seal Islands of Alaska, 4to, unpaged, 1873 [174].

ELLIOTT, HENRY W.: Condition of Affairs iu Alaska, 1875, pp. 107-151.

9 1881. ELLIOTT, HENRY W. : Department of the Interior. | | Tenth Census of the- United Static. | Francis A.



Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 13 of 146)