In the 1700's and 1800's, fur
seals were almost completely wiped out by sealers. Captain James
Cook visited the island of South Georgia in 1775 and reported that
there a great many seals present.
This led to sealers setting sail
to bring back the pelts of these animals. They were very popular
for their dense short fibred fur that was made into ladies coats.
Within 25 years of being discovered,
the catch in one summer was 112 000 animals. By 1822, the southern
fur seal was virtually extinct on South Georgia. Ironically perhaps,
it was the quest for new populations of fur seals that led to much
of the early exploration of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. By
the beginning of the 1900's the southern fur seal was a rare animal
indeed, a single male was sighted on South Georgia in 1916 and duly
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
100mm lens, 35mm film, K64
This picture may not be copied
or used in any manner without prior written permission.