A biological study of the muskrat, (Ondatra zibethica alba (Sabine) Miller, 1912) in Manitoba

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Bondar, George Frederic
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The early fur trade furnished the stimulus for exploration and the subsequent colonization of the North American continent. "Probably the oldest industry in the world was the taking of furs for clothing; aborigines the world over have been dependent upon fur animals for ages. The early invaders of North America pushed into the West for furs. If one reviews the history of North America, he soon learns that not gold, agricultural lands, or timber attracted the hardy adventurers, but rather the claims of the fur trade." (Hamilton, 1939) The fur trade of Canada plays an important role in the economic status of this country. A large population of Northern Canada is primarily dependent upon the fur bearing animals. Approximately 60,000 Eskimos and 20,000 Indians are supported largely by the fur industry. These natives cannot subsist on agriculture due to the unsuitability of the soil and also because of their nomadic nature. Since there exists a sufficient native population in Canada to secure all the furs that can be marketed, certain restrictions have been placed on the number of white trappers. With the increasing demand for furs, many of the fur-bearing species have been trapped very heavily resulting in a serious decrease in their numbers. If the conditions of the habitat became severe, the outcome would have been extermination if conservation measures were not brought into function. The purpose of management and regulation is to permanently maintain the fur supply on a sustained-yield basis.