Australian Fur Seal (1)
McCoy on Fur Seals & Becker's letter to McCoy, 24 January 1859
The trade, he informs me, has now entirely ceased in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, partly from the animals being scared away by the traffic of a multitude of steamers and other vessels, and partly of the greater scarcity of labour no longer leaving it profitable to pay a sufficiently numerous crew of a vessel to man the several boats required.
Colonel Champ also informs me that five-and-twenty years ago he used to see several of the islands between the Tasmanian and Victoria shores covered with numbers of the Fur-Seals, of which it is rare circumstances to see a single individual now in the localities where they were so common formerly.
I subjoin in foot-note an amusing notice of one of the young specimens now in the Museum, written by the late clever observer and artist, Ludwig Becker.
- Frederick McCoy
University 24th January 1859.
Young female Seal, caught alive, vis-a vis Wilhelmi's residence (Punt road, not far off from Gardner's Creek road, south) sitting under a tree in the morning yesterday week; it was lively and galloped alongside Wilhelmi, who was leading it home with a rope. The nearest point of the Yarra is distant say half-a-mile. It lived three hours after it was caught. If you will buy it, I think it would be the means of completing your observations on Seals. – Yours truly, (signed) Ludwig Becker.