The growing use of the automobile and the more general habit of living out-of-doors have made furs almost a necessity. In America alone, the valuation of automobiles is now over 1,500 million dollars, and a proper equipment for the luxurious vehicles and their occupants necessitates the use of many millions of dollars worth of furs and leather. Better roads, more extensive travel, and cheaper automobiles are important factors in determining the growing demands for fur and pelts generally.
Some kinds of animals must soon be exterminated
Instruments if the keenness of the hunt for them is maintained.
of Destruction When dead-falls, snares and the bow and arrow were used in hunting there was a chance for the game to escape; but with modern guns, smokeless powder, improved traps, and the most alluring baits and scents that modern chemists can compound and trappers invent, there are fewer opportunities. Coupled with increased efficiency of destructive gear is the general diffusion by railroads, steamship lines and hunting and trapping magazines, of knowledge respecting game resorts and the hunter's art.
Railroads and steamship lines are tapping new
Improvement of territory, corps of guides are organized, canned
Travelling Facilities food and better camping equipment make the hunter's life more enjoyable, and the result is that the uttermost sanctuaries of the fur-bearers are invaded. Their last retreats have been made and they must now slowly diminish in numbers year by year. The musk-ox, for instance, has figured in the London sales only for the past forty years because, before that time, Arctic hunters were unable to reach its habitat. Continued invasion of its territory may lead to its extinction.
The usual methods employed to prevent the complete extinc-
Close tion of a species is to establish a close season. Recently, a
Seasons close season of three years was declared for the Russian sable to allow it to recuperate in numbers in Siberia. The chinchilla has similar protection in Bolivia, and the Canadian beaver is frequently protected in a similar way. A close season of five years is also provided for the Alaska seal. The general decrease in the numbers of fur-bearers during the past twenty years indicates how inefficient are the preventive methods employed.
The ever-expanding areas of human settlements have
Destruction caused some kinds of fur-bearers to retreat farther into
the woods. The clearing away of the forests and the
grazing of the natural covers by domestic animals have destroyed their haunts and exposed them to their enemies. Draining swampy areas has