G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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when young, and becoming lighter with age, and also in the same individuals toward ihe molting
season. There is also considerable range of individual variation in representatives of the same
species, so that co. oration alone fails to afford satisfactory diagnostic eharacteis. All the Fur Seals
are black when \oung, but they become lighter with age, through an abundant admixture of grayish
hairs which vary from yellowish gray to whitish-gray. The southern Fur Seals are generally, when
adult, much grayer than the northern. There is hence a wide range of color variation with age in
the same species, as there is also among conspeciflc individuals of the same sex and age. While
.some have the breast and sides pale yellowish-gray, others have these parts strongly rufous, the
general tint also showing to some extent these differences.

There is also a wonderful disparity in size between the sexes, the weight of the adult males
being generally three to iive times that of the adult females of the same species. There are also
very great differences in the form of the skull, especially iu respect to the development of crests
and protuberances for muscular attachment, these being only slightly developed in females and
enormously so in the males. With such remarkable variations in color and cranial characters,
dependent upon age and sex, it is not a matter of snrpr se that many nominal species have arisen
through a misappreciation of the real significance of these differences.

HABITS. The Eared Seals show also a remarkable resemblance in their gregarious and iw'lyg-
ainous habits. All the species, wherever occurring, like the Walruses and Sea Elephants, resort
in great numbers to particular breeding stations, which, in sealers' parlance, have acquired I lie
strangely inappropriate name of ''rookeries." The older males arrive first at the breeding grounds,
where they immediately select their stations and await the arrival of the females. They keep up a
perpetual warfare for their favorite sites, and afterward in defense of their harems. The number
of females acquired by the successful males varies from a dozen to fifteen or more, which they guard
with the utmost jealousy might being with them the law of right. The strongest males are nat-
urally the most successful in gathering about them large harems. The males, during the breeding
season, remain wholly on land, and they will sutler death rather than leave their chosen spot. They
thus sustain, for a period of several weeks, an uninterrupted fast. They arrive at the breeding
.stations fat and vigorous, and leave them weak and emaciated, having been nourished through
their long period of f.istiug wholly by the fat of their own bodies. The females remain uninter-
ruptedly on land for a much shorter period, but for a considerable time after their arrival do not
leave the harems. The detailed account given a century ago by Steller, and recently con firmed by
Hi \ant and Klliott, ol the habits of the northern Fur and Hair Seals during the breeding season,
is well known to apply, in gieater or less detail, to nearly all the species of the family, and
presumably to all. As the observations by Messrs. Elliott and Bryant are pioentcd later in this
work at length, it is unnecessary to give further details in the present connection.

GEOUI: u-iiiCAL DISTRIBUTION. The most striking fact in respect to the distribution of the
<Hnrii<lir is their entire absence from the waters of the North Atlantic.


As already uoticed, tbe Eared Seals are obviously divisible, by the character of the pelage, into
two groups, which are commercially distinguished as the "Hair Seals" and the "Fur Seals,"' which
are likewise respectively known as the "Sea Lions" and the "Sea Bears." The two groups have
nearly the same geographical distribution, and are commonly found frequenting the same shores,
but generally living aparr. Usually only one species of each is met with at the same localities,
and it is worthy of note that, with the exception of the coast of California, no naturalist has ever
reported the occurrence together of two species of Hair Seals or two species of Fur Seals, although
doubtless two species of Hair Seals exist on the islands and shores of Tasmania and Australia, as
-well as on the California!) coast.

The Hair and Fur Seals are about equally and similarly represented on both sides of the
Equator, but they are confined almost wholly to the temperate and colder latitudes. Of the nine
species provisionally above recognized, two of the five Hair Seals are northern and three southern :
of the four Fur Seals, three are southern and one only is northern; but the three southern are closely
related (perhaps doubtfully distinct, at least two of them), and are evidently recent and but slightly
differentiated forms of a common ancestral stock. Of the two Eared Seals of largest size (E-uict<>]>inx
Stelleri and Otaria jubata), one is northern and the other southern, and, though differing generic-ally
in the structure of the skull, are very similar in external characters, and geographically are strict :\-
representative. Zalopltus is the only genus occurring on both sides of the Equator, but the species
are different in the two hemispheres. The Fur Seals of the north are the strict geographical repre-
sentatives of those of the south. Phocarctos Hoolteri is Australasian, and has no corresponding form
in the Northern Hemisphere. No species of Eared Seal is known from the North Atlantic. Several
of the southern species range northward into the equatorial regions, reaching the Galapagos Islands
and the northern shores of Australia.


on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the South American continent, about its southern
extremity, and on all the outlying islands, including not only the Falklands, the South Shetland
and South Georgian, but at other small islands more to the eastward, at Prince Edward's, the
Crozets, Kerguelen, Saint Paul, and Amsterdam, the southern and western shores of Australia,
Tasmania, New Zealand, and at the numerous smaller islands south of the two last named. They
have been found, in fact, at all the islands making up the chain of pelagic islets stretching some-
what interruptedly from Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands eastward to Australia and New
Zealand, including among others those south of the Cape ot Good Hope, so famous in the annals of
the seal-fishery. It has been stated by Gray and others that the Cape of Good Hope Fur Seals
(n-ally those of the Crozets and neighboring islands) are far inferior in commercial value to those
of other regions; but in tracing the history of the- sealing business I have failed to notice any
reference to the inferior quality of those from the last-named locality, or that there has been any
difference in the commercial value of the fur seal skins obtained at different localities in the
Southern Seas. The quality differs at the same locality, wherever the Fur Seals are found, with
the season of the year and age of the animals, so that skins may come not only from the Cape of
Good Hope, but from any other of the sealing places, that one "might feel convinced could not be
dressed as furs," being " without very thick underfill 1 ."


GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. The known range of this species, Eumetopian Stelleri (Lesson)
Peters, extends along the west coast of North America from the Farallono Islands, in latitude 37
40 7 north, to the Pribylov Islands. Its northern limit of distribution is not definitely known, but

Till-: SEA LION: GKNKi.-.M, IIISToiiY. 39

it <les not a; "li'l.avr been met with norlli of about 111.- lat ilude of Saint Matthew's Island

(about latitude liP). Neither Mr. \V. II. Hall nor Mr. II. \V. Klli,,tt has met with it above this

])<>iiil.anil they have l.,.ih informed me th.it they have no reason t.. sup] it extends an\ further

noithward or beyond the southern limi; of lloatiug ice. According to Steller. it exisie.l in his time
along the whole eastein coast of Kamlchat ka ami southward to the Kniile Islands. Me found it
abundant on Merin-'s ami Copper Jslamls, where it is still well known to exist. If Dr. Only 'a

r.nm, /. V m,.v, /;,,/ ^.s. as originally described in 1*7:; (the same speei n was referred by him in

is:- to /:. SMI,-,-!), l.e referable, as I believe, to tin- female of E. Stelleri, the range of this species
appears to extend southward on the Asiatic coast as far as Japan.

Although the Sea Lions of the California coast that have of late years attracted so much
attention appear to be the smaller species, Zaloplnu Californianw>, the occurrence of the present
species there is aNo fully established, where it is resident the whole year, and where it brings forth
its young, as pros en by specimens transmitted some years since by Dr. Ayres to the Smithsonian

< i i, >. 1:1: A i. HISTORY. The Northern Sea Lion was first described in 1751 by Steller, who, under
t he name of L> m<n-in, gave a somewhat detailed account of its habits and its geographical range,
SO far as I, now n to him.

( aptain Scammon, in 1874, published a very interesting account of the Sea Lions of the Aleu-
tian Islands, particularly as respects the methods employed in their capture, portions of which will
be quoted later. 1 1 is account is devoted largely, however, to the Sea Lions of the California coast,
and certainly includes the history of the smaller species, if in fact this part does not relate mainly
to tin- latter. About the same time appeared Mr. H. W. Elliott's more detailed history of the
northern species, which is so full and explicit that I transcribe it almost entire.

The Sea Lion, he says, "has a really leonine appearance and bearing, greatly enhanced by the
rich golden -rufous of its coat, ferocity of expression, and bull-dog muzzle and cast of eye, not
round and full. l>nt showing the white, or sclerotic coat, with a light, bright-brown iris.

"Although provided with flippers to all external view as the Fur Seal, he cannot, however, make
use of them in the same free manner. While the Fur Seal can be driven five or six miles in twenty-
lour hours, t lie Sea Lion can barely go two, the conditions of weather and roadway being the same.
The Sea Lions balance and swing their long, heavy necks to and fro, with every hitch up behind
of their posteriors, which they seldom raise from the ground, drawing them up after the fore feet
with a slide over the grass or sand, rocks. \c., as the case may be, and pausing frequently to take
a sullen and ferocious survey of the field and the drivers.

"The Sea Lion is polygamous, but does not maintain any such regular system and method in
preparing for and attention to its harem like that so finely illustrated on the breeding-grounds of
Hie Fur Seal. It is not numerous, comparatively speaking, and does not 'haul' more than a few
rods back from the sea. It cannot be visited and inspected by man, being so shy and wary that
on the slightest approach a stampede into the water is the certain result. The males come out and
locate on the narross belts of rookery ground, preferred and selected by them; the cows make their
appearance three or four weeks after them (1st to Cth June), and arc not subjected to that intense
jealous supervision so characteristic of the Fur Seal harem. The bulls light savagely among them
selves, and turn oil' from the breeding ground all the younger and weak males.

"The cow Sea Lion is not quite half the size of the male, and will measure from eight to nine
feet in length, with a weight of four and live hundred pounds. She has the same general cast of
countenance and build of the bull, but as she does not sustain any lasting period of over a week
or ten da\s, she never comes out so grossly fat as the male or 'sec-calch.'


"The Sea Lion rookery will be found to consist of about ten to fifteen cows to the bull. The
cow seems at all times to have the utmost freedom in moving from place to place, and to start with
its young, picked up sometimes by the nape, into the water, and play together for spells in the
surf- wash, a movement on the part of the mother never made by the Fur Seal, and showing, in this
respect, much more attention to its oft'spriug.

"They are divided up into classes, which sustain, in a general manner, but very imperfectly,
nearly the same relation one to the other as do those of the Fur Seal, of which I have already spoken
at length and in detail; but they cannot be approached, inspected, and managed like the other,
by reason of their wild and timid nature. They visit the islands in numbers comparatively small
(I can only estimate), not over twenty or twenty-live thousand on Saint Paul and contiguous
islets, and not more than seven or eight thousand at Saint George. On Saint Paul Island they
occupy a small portion of the breeding ground at Northeast Point, in common with the CaMorhinmt,
always close to the water, and taking to it at the slightest disturbance or alarm.

"The Sea Lion rookery on Saint George Island is the best place upon the Seal Islands for
close observation of these animals, and the following note was made upon the occasion of one of
my visits (June 15, 1873) :

'"At the base of cliffs, over four hundred feet in height, on the east shore of the island, on a
beach fifty or sixty feet in width at low water, and not over thirty or forty at flood tide, lies the
only Sea Lion rookery on Saint George Island some three or four thousand cows and bulls. The
entire circuit of this rookery belt was passed over by us, the big, timorous bulls rushing off into
the water as quickly as the cows, all leaving their young. Many of the females, perhaps half of
them, had only just given birth to their young. These pups will weigh at least twenty to twenty-
five pounds on an average when born, are of a dark chocolate-brown, with the eye as large as the
adult, only being a suffused, watery, gray -blue where the sclerotic coat is well and sharply denned
in its maturity. They are about two feet in length, some longer and some smaller. As all the pups
seen to-day were very young, some at this instant only born, they were dull and apathetic, not
seeming to notice us much. There are, I should say, about one-sixth of the Sea Lions in number
on this island, when compared with Saint Paul. As these animals lie here under the clifl's, they
cannot be approached and driven; but should they haul a few hundred rods up to the south, then
they can be easily captured. They have hauled in this manner always until disturbed in 1808, and
will undoubtedly do so again if not molested.

"These Sea Lions, when they took to the water, swam out to a distance of fifty yards or so,
and huddled all up together in two or three packs or squads of about five hundred each, holding
their heads and necks up high out of water, all roaring in concert and incessantly, making such a
deafening noise that we could scarcely hear ourselves in conversation at a distance from them of
over a hundred yards. This roaring of Sea Lions, thus disturbed, can only be compared to the
hoarse sound of a tempest as it howls through the rigging of a ship, or the playing of a living
gale upon the bare branches, limbs, and trunks of a forest grove.' They commenced to return as
soon as we left the ground.

"The voice of the Sea Lion is a deep, grand roar, and does not have the flexibility of the Gal-
lorh inu*, being confined to a low, muttering growl or this bass roar. The pups are very playful,
but are almost always silent. When they do utter sound, it is a sharp, short, querulous growling.

"The natives have a very high appreciation of the Sea Lion, or see-vitchie, as they call it, and
base this regard upon the superior quality of the flesh, fat, and hide (for making covers for their
skin boats, bidarkies and bidarrahx), sinews, intestines, &c.

"As I have before said, the Sea Lion seldom hauls back far from the water, generally very

TIIK SKA LION: ITS ( \\ I II |; I ;. 4J

close to the surf-margin, and in this position it becomes quite a dillicult task for tin- natives 1.1
approach ami pet in between it and (he sea unobserved, lor. unless this silent approach is made,
the beast will at ouce take the alarm and bolt into the water.

My reference to my map of Saint Paul's, a small point, near the head of the northeast neck
of the island, will lie seen, upon which quite a large number of Sea Lions are always to be
found, as it is never disturbed except on the occasion of this annual driving. The natives step
down on to the beach, in the little bight just above it, and begin to crawl on all fours Hat on
the sand down to the end of the neck and in between the dozing sea-lion herd and the water,
always selecting a semi-bright moonlight night. If the wind is favorable, and none of the men
meet \\irh an accident, the natives will almost always succeed in reaching the i>oint unobserved,
when, at a given signal, they all jump on their feet at once, yell, brandish their arms, and give a
sudden start, or alarm, to the herd above them, for, just as the Sea Lions move, upon the fiist
impulse of surprise, so they keep on. For instance, if the animals on starting up are sleeping with
their heads pointed in the direction of the water, they keep straight on toward it; but if they
jump up looking over the laud, they follow that course just as desperately, and nothing turns
them, at first, either one way or the other. Those that go for the water are, of course, lo^t, but
the natives follow the laud-leaders and keep urging them on, ami soon have them in their control,
driving them back into a small pen, which they extemporize by means of little stakes, with flags,
set around a circuit of a few hundred square feet, and where they keep them until three or four
hundred, at least, are captured, before they commence their drive of ten miles overland down
south to the village.

"The natives, latterly, getting in this annual herd of Sea Lions, have postponed it until late
in the fall, and when the animals are scant in number and the old bulls poor. This they were
obliged to do, on account of the pressure of their sealing business in the spring, and the warmth
of the season in August and September, which makes the driving very tedious. In this way 1
have not been permitted to behold the best-conditioned drives, t. e., those in which a majority of
the herd is made up of fine, enormously fat, and heavy bulls, some four or five hundred in number.

The natives are compelled to go to the northeast point of the island for the animals, inas-
much as it is the only place with natural advantages where they can be approached for the purpose
of capturing alive. Here they congregate in greatest number, although they can le found, two or
three thousand of them, on the southwest point, and as many more on 'Seevitchie Caminin' and
Otter Island.

"Capturing the Sea Lion drive is really the only serious business these people on the islands
have, and when they set out for the task the picked men only leave the village. At Northeast
Point they have a barrabkie, in which they sleep and eat while gathering the drove, the time of
getting which depends upon the weather, wind, &c. As the squads arc captured, night afier
night, they are driven up close by the barrabkie, where the natives mount constant guard over
them until several hundred animals shall have been secured and all is ready for the drive down
overland to the village.

"The drove is started and conducted in the same general manner as that which I have detailed
in speaking of the Fur Seal, only the Sea Lion soon becomes very sullen and unwilling to move,
requiring spells of frequent rest. It cannot pick itself up from the ground and si amble oil' on a
loping gallop for a few hundred yards, like the Callorhinun, and is not near so free and agile in its
movements on land, or in the water for that matter, for 1 have never seen the Eitmetopinx lea]) from
the water like a dolphin, or indulge in the thousand and one submarine acrobatic displays made
constantly by the Fur Seal.


"This ground, over which the Sea Lious are driven, is mostly a rolling level, thickly grassed
and mossed over, with here and there a fresh-water pond into which the animals plunge with great
apparent satisfaction, seeming to cool themselves, and out of which the natives have no trouble in
driving them. The distance between the sea-lion pen at Northeast Point and the village is about
ten miles, as the Sea Lions are driven, and occupies over live or six days under the most favorable
circumstances, such as wet, cold weather; and when a little warmer, or as in July or August, a
few seasons ago, they were some three weeks coming down with a drove, and even then left a
hundred or so along on the road.

After the drove has been brought into the village on the killing-grounds, the natives shoot
down the bulls and then surround and huddle up the cows, spearing them just behind the fore
flippers. The killing of the Sea Lions is quite an exciting spectacle, a strange and unparalleled
exhibition of its kind. . . The bodies are at once stripped of their hides and much of

the flesh, sinews, intestines (with which the native water-proof coats, &c., are made), in conjunction
with the throat linings (cestythagm), aud the skin of the flippers, which is exceedingly tough and
elastic, and used for soles to their boots or ' tarbosars.'

"As the Sea Lion is without fur, the skin has little or no commercial value; the hair is short,
and longest over the uape of the neck, straight, aud somewhat coarse, varying iu color greatly as
the seasons come and go. For instance, when the Eumetopias makes his first appearance in the
spring, and dries out upon the laud, he has a light-brownish, rufous tint, darker shades back and
under the fore flippers and on the abdomen ; by the expiration of a month or six weeks, loth June,
he will be a bright golden-rufous or ocher, and this is just before shedding, which sets iu by the
middle of August, or a little earlier. After the new coat has fairly grown, and just before he leaves
the island for the season, in November, it will be a light sepia, or vandyke-brown, with deeper
shades, almost dark upon the belly. The cows, after shedding, do not color up so dark as the
bulls, but when they come back to the land next year they are identically the same in color, so
that the eye, iu glancing over a sea-lion rookery in June and July, cannot discern any noted
dissimilarity of coloring between the bulls and the<sows; and also the young males aud yearlings
appear in the same golden brown and ocher, with here and there an animal spotted somewhat like
a leopard, the yellow, rufous ground predominating, with patches of dark-brown irregularly inter-
spersed. I have never seen any of the old bulls or cows thus mottled, and think very likely it is
dm- to some irregularity in the younger animals during the season of shedding, for I have not
noticed it early in the season, and failed to observe it at the close. Many of the old bulls have a
grizzled or slightly brindled look during the shedding period, or, that is, from the 10th August
up to the 10th or 1'Oth of November. The pups, when bom, are of a rich, dark chestnut-brown;
this coat they shed in October, and take one much lighter, but still darker than their parents', but
not a great deal.

Although, as I have already indicated, the Sea Lion, in its habit and disposition, approxi-
mates the Fur .Seal, yet in no respect does it maintain and enforce the system and regularity found
on the breeding-grounds of the. Callurhinw. The time of arrival at, stay on, and departure from
the island is about the same; but if t.he winter is an open, mild one, the Sea Lion will be seen
frequently all through it, and the natives occasionally shoot them around the island long after the
Fur Seals have entirely disappeared for the year. It also does not confine its landing to these
Pribylov Islands alone, as the Fur Seal unquestionably docs, with reference to our continent, for it
has been and is often shot upon the Aleutian Islands and many rocky islets of the northwest coast.

"The Sea Lion in no respect whatever manifests the intelligence aud sagacity exhibited by
the Fur Seal, aud must be rated far below, although next, in natural order. I have no hesitation

Tin: si:.\ I.K>N : AI;IM>.\N( i:. rnoi>. j 43

in pulling this BMNtffepfa* of the I'rili.vlov Islands, apart from tin- Sea Lion common at San 1 i.in

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 11 of 146)