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10   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

America, millions of dollars will be saved annually, as the use of this lasting and handsome fur is increasing steadily. That the business is regarded in Russia as an important one, is indicated by the calling of a convention of breeders at Moscow (October, 1912), at the Crar's special request. As a possible source of future fur supply, the karakule crossed with lustrous woolled sheep like Lincolns and Cotswolds appears to be one of the most promising. Experiments made recently have produced lamb skins of magnificent gloss and curl.

Despite the progress that has been made in breeding Domesticating karakule sheep, it must be acknowledged that domestica-Fur-Bearers   tion of fur-bearing animals has, thus far, failed to supply

the demand for pelts which are highly valued for fur. The increasing demand and the ever-decreasing supply of desirable fur pelts is producing a state of trade that would be alarming were it not for the possibilities of domesticating and breeding other fur-bearers. The time has come when, on account of the high range of prices, every effort should be made to domesticate all wild fur-bearing animals of considerable value.

There is a broad field for activity in this direction. According to Lantz' estimate, there are about five thousand species of mammals at present inhabiting the earth. About twenty-three of these are in a state of domestication, serving man as beasts of burden or furnishing food, clothing, or companionship.

The hoofed animals (ungulata) comprise:

 

The Asiatic elephant, horse, ass, hog, camel, dromedary, rein-deer, goat, sheep, yak, buffalo (two species), ox (two species), and llama (possibly four species).

The flesh-eating animals (carnivora) comprise:

 

The cat, dog, ferret and cheetah or hunting leopard of India. The rodent animals (rodentia) comprise:

 

The rabbit and the guinea pig.

 

The Arctic fox (vulpes lagopus) and the common fox (vulpes vulpes) may be classed as domestic, as for twenty years they have been nurtured under man's care, and the rising prices of fur will probably make the industry permanent.


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