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Elephant seal oil cargoes from King Island, Bass Strait, 1802-1819: with estimates of numbers killed and size of the original population

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Ling, JK (1999) Elephant seal oil cargoes from King Island, Bass Strait, 1802-1819: with estimates of numbers killed and size of the original population. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 133 (1). pp. 51-56. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were harvested for their oil at King Island, Bass Strait, from 1802 to 1819, by which time they were virtually extinct at that location and have not returned since. Oil cargo statistics have been collated from various secondary sources; in arriving at annual yields, allowance was made for untallied (unquantified) cargoes and a certain amount of waste and onsite use. Depending on the methods of calculation, between 920 and 1326 tons of oil were produced, almost 750/0 of this in the .first three years and 95% by 1807. Some 10 000 adult and sub-adult elephant seals would have had to be slaughtered to generate such yields. The approximate total size of the pristine populations is believed to have been between about 10 000 and 17000, based on the various calculated oil yields and a number of fairly broad assumptions.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 51-56
ISSN: 0080-4703
Additional Information: Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 02:05
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:33
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13609
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