Notwithstanding the reported rights of the Russian imperial authorities over some regions with respect to these and other valuable fur-bearing animals, there are in addition to the numbers regularly sent to the trade auction sales in London many good parcels of raw skins to be easily bought direct, provided price is not the first consideration.
A few fur-bearing animals, the mink, beaver and raccoon, still remain.
It was decided that the United States had no jurisdiction in the Bering Sea beyond the three miles' limit, but the court also made regulations to prevent the wholesale slaughter of fur-bearing seals.
The question frequently arises, not only for those interested in the production of fur apparel, but for those who derive so much comfort and pleasure from its use, whether the supply of fur-bearing animals is likely to be exhausted.
Some of these are reared upon extensive wild farms. In addition there are domestic fur-bearing animals, such as Persian, Astrachan and Chinese lambs, and goats, easily bred and available.
It is, however, the fish and the fur-bearing animals of its rivers and surrounding seas that are economically most distinctive of and important to Alaska.
For the following description, chiefly taken from the American form (though almost equally applicable to that of Europe) we are mainly indebted to Dr Elliott Coues's Fur-bearing Animals of North America, 1877.
The supply of some of the most valuable, such as sable, silver and natural black fox, sea otter and ermine, which are all taken from animals of a more or less shy nature, does very gradually decrease with persistent hunting and the encroachment of man upon the districts where they live, but the climate of these vast regions is so cold and inhospitable that the probabilities of man ever permanently inhabiting them in numbers sufficient to scare away or exterminate the fur-bearing wild animals is unlikely.
Besides these there are many useful, though commonplace, fur-bearing animals like mink, musquash, skunk, raccoon, opossum, hamster, rabbit, hares and moles, that thrive by depredations upon cultivated land.
Another industry of a different character is that of breeding the fur-bearing chinchilla (C. laniger), which is a native of the higher plateaus.