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12   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

times. All of these except the silver fox are now off the market because of a restrictive close season established by law to allow them to recuperate in numbers. None, except the silver fox, is bred in captivity.

The sea-otter, because of its aquatic habits, extreme scarcity and remoteness from populous neighbourhoods, has never been domesticated. The chinchilla, a rat-like animal, found principally in Bolivia, is also being exterminated and no attempt is being made to rear it in pens. The Russian sable has been subjected to a few half-hearted experiments in domestic breeding, but without success. Mr. Vladimir Generosoff, an American agent of the Russian Department of Agriculture, states that no serious attempts to breed the sable will be made by the peas-ant trappers who are so poverty-stricken that they cannot raise sufficient capital for ranch equipment. He hopes to secure the co-operation of his government in conducting breeding experiments with these valuable animals.

The best sable are found in the forests of the Vitim and Olekma in the province of Yakutsk, one of the remotest parts of Siberia. It is evident that only the Russian authorities can secure a sufficient number of excellent wild specimens to conduct a practical experiment. In the meantime, in preparation for the time when the Russian sable will be available for breeding in Canada, experiments should be conducted with the Canadian sable, which is very closely related to the Russian and very similar in habits.

Because of its ubiquitous character and its fondness for living near human habitations, the silver fox has been subjected to more domesticating experiments than any other valuable fur-bearer. When it be-came known that it was simply a pelage colour of the common red fox, experiments were multiplied with the cheaper red foxes to gain experience in breeding the species. The breeding of the fox in captivity is proceeding on an increasingly large scale and no doubt exists now regarding the possibility of domesticating it.


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