Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/278

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

acus macrotis), black-tailed deer (Cariacus columbianus), prong-horned antelope (Antilocarpa americana), Montana goat (Ovis montana) and the mountain goat (Hoploceras montana). Bears in general are greatly on the decrease, and especially the black bear (Ursus americanus) and the California grizzly bear (Ursus horribilis horriƦus). The carnivores are represented by the puma or mountain lion (Felis concolor), jaguar (Felis onca), red lynx (Lynx rufus), otter (Lutra canadensis). The rodents, or gnawing animals, on the whole seem to be on the increase, but the most valuable member of the order to man, the beaver, (Castor canadensis) is fast nearing extinction.

Concerning the bears Morse's "Universal Geography" for 1812, states that eight hundred thousand hides were shipped out of the United States every year. If there is such a thing as a bear industry in this country now it is of exceedingly small importance. In 1784, from one city alone, Charleston, S. C, six hundred thousand deer hides were shipped; in 1812 the price paid for a buck was forty cents; in 1878 venison cost three and one fourth cents per pound; in 1908 it took forty cents to buy a pound of venison, just exactly what a whole buck cost in 1812. Evidently there are not as many deer as there used to be. It is natural, of course, that the wild animals of a country should decrease as the population increases, since an increase in population means that new land must be cleared, and the wild animals living in the region of increase, killed off. In many countries, where the population per square mile is so much greater than it is here, there would be some excuse; but not in America where miles of prairie and mountain are uninhabited. There is not a single region in this country where the majority of species of mammals is not on the decrease.

Bird life, on the whole, has decreased a great deal more than animal life; there are a few regions, though, where birds are increasing in numbers. According to reports received from thirty-six states and territories, Dr. Hornaday is of the opinion that in the last fifteen or twenty years the bird life in the United States has been decreased by 46 per cent. The greatest amount of damage seems to have been done in Florida, where the decrease is 77 per cent. In Indian Territory, the region constituting the eastern portion of what is now the state of Oklahoma, the loss is 75 per cent. From Connecticut a loss of 75 per cent, is also reported. The states having the smallest losses are: Nebraska 10 per cent., Michigan 23 per cent., Colorado 28 per cent, and Massachusetts 27 per cent. In three states, North Carolina, California and Oregon, the balance of bird life has been maintained; that is, the losses in one form of bird life have been made up by increases in other forms. In North Carolina, along the coast region, bird life has suffered great losses, but in the thickly wooded mountainous regions of the western part of the state the birds have greatly increased in