The protection of mutton birds and seals

Montgomery, Henry Hutchinson 1894 , 'The protection of mutton birds and seals' , Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , xiii-xiv .

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In the course of my annual trips to the Furneaux Islands I have
obtained information from those whose knowledge of the habits of the
sooty petrel can be relied upon, and I beg now to lay before the
Society some further results based upon personal observation and
on inquiries among the half-castes, in order to supplement what I read
on a previous occasion on the same subject. The following is an
accurate statement of that wonderful rush of these birds to their
breeding places every evening till the whole colony takes its departure.
On Goose Island, evening after evening, I ensconced myself under a
rock for five days, noting every indication of the habits of these
birds. SEALS. As the seal rocks are now to be thrown open once more to sealers
after a close time of about three years, it may be of interest to the
Society if I lay before its members the suggestions made by sealers
aud others for the protection of the industry. Mr. Maclaine, of
Clarke Island, advocates the protection of female seals altogether,
following the law that obtains in the Behring Straits. On the other
hand, the most thoughtful of the sealers themselves assert that this
would virtually stop sealing, inasmuch as the female seal is much
more numerous on the rocks than the male ; but whether this last assertion is true I am not in a position to say. But whilst these men
do not wish to be altogether debarred from killing female seals, they
view with abhorrence the destruction of the females whilst their
young are dependent upon them. More than one of them has
described how heartrending are the cries of the little seal left to
starve on the rocks before it can take to the water. These people
advocate a close time for seals every year, namely, the period when
the pups are being suckled and before they take to the water. The
time they suggest is November, December, and half January.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Montgomery, Henry Hutchinson
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

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