John Vonderlin: 1901: What happened to the seal lions?

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John (benloudman@sbcglobal.net)

Hi June,
    This is an editorial that appeared a little over a year after the massacre that was described in the last article I sent you. This person seems to be seeing the big picture about resource management long before most people of his time did. I’ll be sending that  group’s words next. Enjoy. John
 
August 1st, 1901 “The Call”
SEA LIONS AND FISH
The attempt to exterminate the sea lions should be watched with care. The desire and disposition to exterminate the life that nature placed on the earth should be curbed. The large land animals are rapidly going, and in a few generations will exist only in their remains in museums. Wantonness unconnected even with a desire for gain has destroyed
the great sea cow of Alaskan waters, an amphibious animal of such amiability that its capture was not even sport, yet it was hunted to extinction. The same fate is overtaking the walrus. Our sea lions are next in order. They are accused of eating too many fish, and as they will not substitute kelp for fish as food the demand is made for their destruction. When men came here and began keeping tab on their partners in life of the lower orders there were thousands of sea lions where now are hundreds, and there were also millions of fish where now are thousands. Of course the sea lions then were eating fish as they do now, but now there is only one sea lion where ten were feeding. Invoking mathematics in behalf of the lions, only one fish is being eaten now -where ten used to be consumed. Where are the nine?
Over-fishing by men and not by sea lions is responsible for any shortage in fish. Abuse of the close season, taking fish under size and other violations of the regulations designed to protect fish are responsible for the decline in the supply. Man is to blame, and he diverts attention by asking a death warrant for the sea lion.
   We trust that not one of these fine and interesting marine animals will be condemned and shot. That bit of life on the rocks adds interest to the view of the ocean. Those who sail blue water recall how like a desert the far seas are, with scarcely ever a sight of
marine life. The coast waters are equally dreary, if no creature intended to inhabit the waters is ever seen. If some vengeful, greedy and destructive people had their way there would riot be left a large animal in thewater nor on the land, nor a bird in the air, and man
would lord it over a world that he had stripped of its living things other than himself.
  
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