The typical adult male or bull (sikatch) of the second group attains maturity about the seventh year, and weighs from 400 to 500 lb. It is 6 ft. in length, with a girth of 41 feet. The fur is blackish or dark brown, with long yellowish-white hairs, especially long and firm on the back of the neck, forming the so-called "wig" or mane. The animal stands erect and runs or "lollops" along the ground when on land. The adult female, or cow (matka), is much smaller, averaging about 8o lb. in weight, with length and girth in proportion. The fur is of varying shades of brown; she bears her first young at the age of three years. The breeding-grounds are boulder-strewn beaches or rocky hill slopes near the shore. On these the she-bears congregate in close-set masses called "rook eries." The unit of rookery life is the family group, or "harem," each bull collecting as many females as he can control. The num ber ranges from one to 100 or more, averaging about 3o. The bulls reach the islands early in May and take up their places. The cows begin to arrive the first week in June. The number on the rookeries from day to day grows steadily to a climax about the middle of July, when about one-half are present, the number actually on the ground diminishing to about one-fourth at and after the close of the breeding season with the end of July. The single young, or pup (kotik), weighing io to 12 lb. and jet black in colour, is born within six to 48 hours after the arrival of the cow. Within a week the latter is served by the bull, and by the end of another week she goes to sea to feed, returning at gradually lengthening intervals through the summer to nourish her young, left in the meantime to care for itself on the rookeries. The bulls, having fasted since their arrival in May, go away in August to feed. The pups learn to swim at the age of a month or six weeks, and in November, with the approach of winter, swim away with their mothers to the south. The migration of the seals is said to keep fairly well to the ioo fathom line.
Apart from this degree of economy, however, a long series of enactments have been made for the protection of the seals (and of sealing). A treaty between the British empire. the United States, Russia, and Japan, not, only regulates land sealing in the North Pacific but prohibits pelagic sealing. When this conser vation treaty became effective in 1911 the herd on the Pribilof Islands numbered about 132,00o animals. During the 28 years since, to 1939, about 900,000 skins have been taken under the supervision of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, the take in 1939 being about 60,500 skins. The herd on the Pribilof Islands, during the
summer of 1939, numbered about 2,000.000 animals.
The fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) of the south was once taken at the Galapagos islands, Tierra del Fuego, Lobos islands, and this or other species at South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and many points about the Antarctic circle. In South Georgia and other dependencies of the Falkland islands it was abundant at one time, and was taken before 1793. Sealing and exploration were mutually helpful, much geographical discovery being due to whalers and sealers, while sealing, like whaling, followed ex ploration in other cases. Great numbers of sea leopards (Hydrurga leptonyx), sea elephants (Mirounga leonina), Weddel's seals (Leptonychotes weddelli) and other species were seen by early voyagers, but at first the skins of the fur seals alone seem to have been taken. One of the earliest recorded landings was that of the Argentine ship, "Juan Nepomucena," which brought in 13,000 skins in 182o. In this and the two following years over 90 vessels, roughly equally divided between Great Britain and the United States, worked the southern grounds. In the first season, catches of 18,000 were not unusual, and five British ships took 95,000 seals in all. Seal oil and blubber, particularly from the elephant seal, began to be taken. Weddel estimated that in the two seasons, 182o-21 and 1821-22, 1,200,000 fur seals were taken from South Georgia, and 320,000 from the South Shetlands alone, with 94o tons of elephant seal oil. It is not surprising that the sealing rapidly disappeared. By 1892 sealing vessels sailed from South American ports homeward with mixed cargoes ; and though in the early '9os a Scottish whaling expedition to the Ross sea took 20,000 skins with four ships, by the end of the 19th century the fur seal had almost completely disappeared from the Falk land island dependencies at least. Other seals, sea elephants in particular, had very greatly diminished in number. From 1881 sealing in these territories has been regulated ; close seasons were introduced, and sealing is now only permitted under licences, which may determine both the kind and number of seals taken. The capture of fur seals is prohibited.
See H. W. Elliot, "Monograph of the Seal Islands of Alaska," U.S. Fish Commission, Bulletin 147 (1882) ; C. H. Merriam and T. C. Mendenhall, Proc. Paris Arbitration (1891) ; Report of the Inter departmental Committee on Research and Development in the Falk land Island Dependencies (1920) ; Bureau of Fisheries, Alaska Fishery and Fur-Seal Industries; Annual Reports of the Alaska Division (Washington) ; L. Stejneger, "The Asiatic Fur-Seal Islands and Fur Seal Industry," U.S. Treasury Document 2017,4 (1896-97) ; W. T. Grenfell and others, Labrador (New York, i9o9).