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quite admit that it is absolutely necessary to adopt some measures for the preservation of the seal heards.

No doubt the free pelagic sealing is a cause, which will act to the destruction of the seal heards, and to that it must be put a stop as soon as possible. But, at the same time, I think that the yearly killing of about 100,000 young males on the Pribilof Islands must have some influence on the diminutions of the heards, especially preventing the natural or sexual selection of the stronger males, which would follow, if the young males were not killed in such a great number. So that, with the stopping of the pelagic sealing, I think that, at least for a few years, also the slaughter of so many young males in the Pribilof Islands should be prohibited. I remain, very truly yours,


Reply of Dr. Leopold Von Schrenck, Member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, St. Peters

burg, Russia.

ST. PETERSBURG, April 13, 1892. DEAR SIR: Having read with eager and critical attention the memoir you have addressed to me upon the condition of the Fur Seal rookeries on the Pribilof Islands in Bering Sea, the causes of decrease and the measures necessary for the restoration and permanent preservation of the seal herd, I can not but completely agree with you in considering the conclusions and recommendations you arrived at quite justified and necessitated by the facts. I am also persuaded that the pelagic sealing, if pursued in the same manner in future, will necessarily end with the extermination of the Fur Seal. Very truly yours,

LEOPOLD VON SCHRENCK, Member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg. Mr. C. HART MERRIAM.

Reply of Dr. Henry H. Giglioli, Director of the Zoo'ogical Museum, Royal Superior Instituie,

Florence, Italy.

FIRENZE, 19 VIA ROMANA, li ad May, 1892. DEAR SIR: Years ago, in November, 1867, I had the good fortune to be able to visit an extensive “rookery" of one of the South Pacific Eared Seals, the well-known Otaria jubata; it was during my voyage round the world on the “ Magenta." The rookery in question lies just behind Cape Stokes in the Gulf of Peñas, on the southern coast of Chile, and is the one seen by Darwin during his memorable voyage in the“ Beagle." I shall never forget that day, when my astonished gaze rested on hundreds of these Eared Seals lying about in every attitude of repose on the beach and rocks of the shore, or gracefully, and without showing the slightest fear, performing the most acrobatic evolutions in the water round our boat. That day I had my first experience of these singular creatures, and from that day dates the special interest I have ever since taken in the study of the life-history of the Otariidæ, which is one of the most marvelous in zoology.

In the spring of 1880, whilst Commissioner for Italy at the grand “Fischerei-Ausstellung" held at Berlin, I first had occasion to admire, in the United States exhibit, the beautiful and spirited drawings of Henry W. Elliott; I have since then taken a keen interest in the wonderful life-history of the North Pacific Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus), as best exemplified on the Pribilov Islands. Later on I have carefully read and commented on the various accounts which have appeared in printon the subject; thus, in J. A. Allen's “North American Pinnipeds," Washington, 1880 (p. 312 and sequel); but more especially the detailed and graphic descriptions which have been published by Henry W. Elliott in his masterly monograph “ The Seal Islands of Alaska," in that grand work by G. Brown Goode and associates, “The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States” (vol. 1, p. 75 and sequel), Washington, 1884, and again in his most interesting volume, “An Arctic Province, Alaska and the Seal Islands," London, 1886.

After these precedents you can easily imagine how great an interest I take in that "vexata quæstio," the Fur-Seal Fishery in the Bering Sea, with what pleasure I received through the United States Government and Mr. Long, the United States consul in this city, your communication, and how glad I am of the opportunity thus afforded me of giving my unbiased opinion in the case and aiding you in your noble effort to preserve from utter destruction one of the most interesting of living creatures and to save at the same time a most valuable source of human industry and profit.

I have read with great attention your condensed but very complete statement of the salient points regarding the life-history of the North Pacific Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus); I have carefully considered the results of your investigation upon the condition of the Fur Seal Rookeries on the Pribilof Islands, your conclusions regarding the causes of their decrease, and the measures you suggest as necessary for the restoration and permanent preservation of the seal herd. And I am happy to state that I entirely agree with you on all points.

The first and most important point for consideration is evidently the cause of the unquestionable decrease ascertained in the Fur-Seal Rookeries on the Pribilof Islands during the past few years. The stringentlyenforced rules which strictly limit the killing for commercial purposes to non-breeding males or "holluschickies,” carefully selected, which selection can only be made on land, entirely preclude to my mind the suggestion that the lamented decrease may be attributed in any degree to the killing of too large a number of such non-breeding males. Such a decrease might have been in some slight measure attributed to the former custom of killing each year a certain number of male pups to furnislı food for the natives, but that practice has been wisely prohibited. Therefore, I feel positive that the notable decrease in the number of Fur Seals resorting to the rookeries on the Pribilof Islands is not in any way to be attributed to the killing which takes place for commercial purposes on those islands. Here I may remark incidentally that it might be of interest, as bearing on the question in a parallel way, to ascertain whether any similar decrease has taken place in the fur-seal rookeries on the Kurile Islands on Robben Reef (Sagalien), and more especially on the Commander Islands, as being in the Bering Sea.

Having conclusively shown that the lamented decrease in the herd of Fur Seals resorting to the Pribilof Islands can in no way be accounted for by the selective killing of non-breeding males for commercial purposes, which takes place on those islands under special rules and active surveillance, we must look elsewhere for its cause, and I can see it nowhere but in the indiscriminate slaughter, principally practiced on breeding or pregnant females, as most clearly shown in your condensed Report, by pelagic sealers.

In any case, all who are competent in the matter will admit that no method of capture could be more uselessly destructive in the case of Pinnipedia than that called "pelagic sealing;” not only any kind of selection of the victims is impossible, but it is admitting much to assert that out of three destroyed one is secured and utilized, and this for obvious and well-known reasons. In the case of the North Pacific Fur Seal, this mode of capture and destruction is doubly to be condemned, because the destruction falls nearly exclusively on those, the nursing or pregnant females, which ought on no account to be killed. It is greatly to be deplored that any civilized nation possessing fishery laws and regulations should allow such indiscriminate waste and destruction. The statistical data you give are painfully eloquent, and when we come to the conclusion that the 62,500 skins secured by pelagic sealing in 1891 represent at a minimum one-sixth of the Fur Seals destroyed, viz, 375,000—that is, calculating one in three secured and each of the three suckling a pup or big with young-we most undoubtedly need not look elsewhere to account for the rapid decrease in the rookeries on the Pribilof Islands; and I quite agree with you in retaining that unless the malpractice of pelagic sealing be prevented or greatly checked, both in the North Pacific and in the Bering Sea, the economic extermination of Callorhinus ursinus is merely the matter of a few years.

International legislation ought to intervene, and without delay, in this case, and suggest the means of possibly preventing or, at least, considerably limiting the pelagic capture and killing of the Northern für seala destructive and ultimately fatal industry, which forcibly recalls the well-known fable of the peasant who killed the hen which laid the golden eggs. The industry derived from the rational killing of Fur Seals, as practiced on the Pribilof Islands, has an economic value which extends far beyond the limits, though vast, of the United States; and it must be remembered that the commercial extermination of the Fur Seal must also put an end to those industries which are counected with the preparation of the much-valued Sealskin fur.

It is both as a Naturalist and as an old Commissioner of Fisheries that I beg to say once more that I most entirely and most emphatically agree with you in the conclusions and recommendations you come to in your report on the present condition of the Fur-Seal industry in the Bering Sea, with special reference to the causes of decrease and the measuros necessary for the restoration and permanent preservation of that industry, which conclusions and recommendations are fully supported and justified by the facts in the case. With much regard, believe me, dear sir, very truly yours,


Washington, D. C.

Reply of Dr, Rafhael Blanchard, Professor Agrégé à la Faculté de médecine de Paris, et

Secrétaire Général de la Société Zoologique de France.

Paris, le 3 mai 1892. A Monsieur le Dr. C. HART MERRIAM, Bureau of Animal Industry,

Department of Agriculture, à Washington, D. C.: MONSIEUR ET HONORÉ COLLÈGUE: J'ai lu avec le plus vif intérêt le savant mémoire que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'adresser, concernant l'histoire biologique du Phoque à fourrure (Callorhinus ursinus). Les observations très précises que vous avez faites aux iles Pribilof et les renseignements non moins exacts, appuyés sur des statistiques officielles, que vous donnez au sujet de la pêche des femelles en haute mer, au moment où elles remontent vers les iles Pribilof pour y mettre bas, vous ont suggéré des conclusions auxquelles je m'associe entièrement.

J'irai même plus loin que vous, car je crois urgent, non seulement de prohiber d'une façon rigoureuse la pêche en haute mer des Callorhinus inigrateurs, mais aussi de réglementer et de limiter sévèrement la chasse à terre des mâles encore trop jeunes pour se constituer un harem.

D'après vos propres observations, le mâle ne s'accouple pas avant l'âge de six ou sept ans et la femelle ne met pas qu'un petit à la fois. On peut donc dire que l'espèce eroît lentement et se multiplie avec difficulté: ce sont là des conditions défavorables, qui ne lui permettent point de réparer les hécatombes qui la déciment depuis quelques années.

En raison des massacres dont elle est la victime, cette espèce marche donc à grands pas vers sa destruction totale et définitive, suivant la voie fatale où l'ont précédée la Rhytina Stelleri, le Vonachus tropicalis et le Macrorhinus angustirostris, pour ne citer que de grands mammifères qui, naguère encore, abondaient au sein des mers américaines. Or, la destruction irrémédiable d'une espèce animale éminemment utile, comme l'est celle-ci, est à proprement parler un crime dont nous nous rendons coupables envers nos descendants: pour satisfaire nos instincts de cupidité, nous tarissons volontairement, et à jamais, une source de richesses qui, réglementée, devrait au contraire contribuer au bien-être de notre génération et de celles qui lui succéderont.

Quand on vit sur son capital, on peut sans doute mener la vie à grandes guides. Mais combien de temps ces folles prodigalités durentelles ! et quel est leur lendemain ? la misère inextricable. Au contraire, en faisant fructifier convenablement son capital, on en retire d'une façon ininterrompue de beaux intérêts, qui ne donnent peut-être pas l'aisance rêvée, mais assurent du moins une vie honorable, dont le sage sait s'accommoder; par des spéculations prudentes ou par une économie bien entendue, il peut même augmenter progressivement son patrimoine et léguer à ses enfants une fortune plus grande que celle qu'il avait lui-même reçue de ses parents. Il en est évidemment de même dans la question qui nous préoccupe et c'est pour notre génération un devoir impérieux d'empêcher la destruction du Phoque à fourrure, d'en réglementer sévèrement la chasse, de perpétuer en un mot cette source de richesses et de la léguer à nos descendants.

A ces considerations d'ordre économique, j'en ajouterai une autre, d'ordre purement sentimental. Ce n'est pas sans une profonde tristesse que le naturaliste voit disparaître une foule d'espèces animales, dont ce siècle aura consommé la destruction. Quand nos mers ne seront plus habitées par les Cétacés et les grands Pinnipèdes, quand les airs ne seront plus sillonnés en tous sens par les petits oiseaux insectivores, qui sait si l'équilibre de la nature ne sera pas rompu, équilibre auquel ont concouru puissament les êtres en voie d'extinction? Avec ses harpons, ses armes à feu et ses engins de toute sorte, l'homme, chez lequel l'instinct de destruction atteint au plus haut point, est le plus cruel ennemide la nature et de l'homme lui-même.

Heureusement, les savants jettent encore à temps le cri d'alarme. Dans ce siècle, où l'on croit à la science, il fau! espérer que leur voix ne

que les

se perdra pas dans le désert. En particulier, j'ai la conviction mesures très sages que vous proposez, eu vue de préserver d'une de. struction imminente le Callorhinus ursinus, seront soumises á une commission internationale, qui les ratifiera et leur donnera force de loi.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur et honoré collègue, l'expression des mes sentiments les plus distingués.

Professeur agrégé à la Faculté de Médecine de Paris,

Secrétaire général de la Société Zoologique de France.


PARIS, May 3, 1892. Dr. C. HART MERRIAM Bureau of Animal Industry,

Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.: SIR AND HONORED COLLEAGUE: I have read with the deepest interest the learned memoir which you have done me the honor to send me concerning the biological history of the fur seal (Callorhinus Ursinus).

The very precise observations which you made at the Pribilof Is. lands, and the no less exact information, based on official statistics, which you give on the subject of the capture of the females on the high sea at the moment when they are returning to the Pribilof Islands to give birth to their young, have suggested to you conclusions with which I fully agree.

I will go even further than you, for I think it urgent not only to rigidly prohibit the taking of the migratory Callorhinus in the opeu sea, but also to regulate and limit severely the hunting on land of males still too young to have a harem.

According to your own observations the male does not pair off before the age of 6 or 7 years and the female gives birth to only one pup at a time. It can be said, then, that the species increases slowly and inultiplies with difficulty. These are unfavorable conditions, which do not allow it to repair the hecatombs which for several years past have been and are decimating the species.

By reason of the massacres of which it is the victim, this species is advancing rapidly toward its total and final destruction, following the fatal road on which the Rhytina Stelleri, the Monachus tropicalis, and the Macrorhinus angustirostris have preceded it, to cite only the great mammifers which but recently abounded in the American seas.

Now, the irremediable destruction of an eminently useful animal species, such as this one, is, to speak plainly, a crime of which we are rendering ourselves guilty towards our descendants. To satisfy our instincts of cupidity we voluntarily exhaust, and that forever, a source of wealth, which, properly regulated, ought, on the contrary, to contribute to the prosperity of our own generation and of those which will succeed it.

When we live on our capital we can undoubtedly lead a gay and extravagant life; but how long does this foolish extravagance last? And what is its to-morrow! Inextricable poverty. On the other hand, in causing our capital to be properly productive, we draw from it constantly a splendid income, which does not, perhaps, give the large means dreamed of, but at least assures an honorable competency, to which the wise man knows how to accommodate himself. By prudent ventures or by a well-regulated economy he can even increase progressively his inheritance and leave to his children a greater fortune than he had

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