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128   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

favourite food is fish and crustaceans, and suitable places could be selected where these could be procured in abundance.

Prime otter skins from eastern Canada, where the fur is at its best, are quoted in the January 1908, Fur Trade Review at $15 to $20.

 

BEAVER

In spite of more than tlu ee hundred years of persistent trapping a few beaver remain scattered here and there over a large part of the United States and Canada, probably enough, could they be adequately protected, to restock most of the streams. In many sections they are protected locally and are becoming abundant again.

If unmolested for a few years they lose their fear of man, work on their dams and houses in the day time and become comparatively tame. With such an animal further domestication seems unnecessary. Given a suitable pond or stream they find abundance of food and are able to care for themselves in every way. They can be fenced in as readily as a flock of sheep and their enemies, except man, can be fenced out. Thousands of miles of forest marsh and stream, fit for no other purpose are lying idle and could be used to advantage as beaver farms.

Prime beaver skins from the northern United States and Canada are quoted in the January, 1908, Fur Trade Review at $5 to $8.

By selecting breeding stock from the region where the fur is the best and keeping only the choice individuals for breeding purposes, it would doubtless be possible to steadily improve the standard and value of the beaver fur.

 

MARTEN

The marten or American sable is a forest animal of the Boreal zone. It comes into the United States along the Northern border and extends south in mountainous sections as far as New York, New Mexico, and cents al California. It is a beautiful, soft-furred little animal the size of a mink, but of much brighter appearance. It generally inhabits coniferous forests, is an expert climber, but avoids the water. Its food is mainly squirrels, rabbits, mice, birds, and such small game. In the wild state it has the savage disposition of its family, but in captivity is quiet and gentle.

The most valuable marten skins come from Labrador and eastern Canada and are variously quoted at $20 to $40.

 

MINK

The mink is one of the most widely distributed fur bearers of North America and one of the few species able to hold its own against


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