Tale of Fur Seals and an Island Croft A Rare Species Returns to Waters off San Francisco Bay

By Daniel Sneider, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 1, 1996 | Go to article overview

Tale of Fur Seals and an Island Croft A Rare Species Returns to Waters off San Francisco Bay


Daniel Sneider, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Peter Pyle was recently searching for a transmitter that had fallen off a seal when he came upon a sight that left even this veteran biologist breathless.

"I had to flush a few sea lions into the water and in among them, in a hidden valley, there were some northern fur seals," Mr. Pyle recounts. "A male stopped and made an odd clicking noise - right behind it was a newborn pup."

The discovery marked the first recorded birth of a fur seal on the Farallon Islands - 30 miles west of San Francisco Bay - since 1817, when they were hunted to extinction by American and Russian sealers. The pup, along with a pod of eight juvenile and adult seals, is evidence that the fur seal, kin of the sea lion and a protected species, is making a comeback here. "It was really exciting," exclaims Pyle, who has been studying the wildlife on these islands since 1980. The fur seals once teemed along the Pacific coast, but they now breed in only two other places - on the Pribilof Islands off Alaska in the Bering Sea and in a colony on San Miguel Island in southern California. The biological milestone underscores the importance of this island chain. Despite the desolate landscape - granite crags and hard earth covered with patchy weeds, these islands are a fecund concentration of wildlife unmatched on the western coast of the US. About a quarter-million seabirds come here every year to hatch their young, making it the largest breeding colony of sea birds in North America south of Alaska. Six different types of seals can be found here. The waters around the islands are considered the best place in the world to see and study the much feared, and little understood, great white shark. Blue and humpback whales migrate in the hundreds past the islands, while gray whales frolic year-round a few hundred yards from shore. In spring and fall, several hundred types of migratory land birds, many of them rarely seen, off-course Siberian and eastern species, stop here. "It's like living on the Discovery Channel," says one volunteer carrying out a migratory bird count for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, which maintains a permanent scientific field station here. The biological richness of the Farallons is due to its location at the boundary where the cold waters of the oxygen-rich Alaska current meet an upwelling from the depths stirred by northwest winds. "You end up with this rich resource of zooplankton and fish," explains Pyle, food for the seabirds, whales, and seals, the latter in turn serving as lunch for the sharks.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tale of Fur Seals and an Island Croft A Rare Species Returns to Waters off San Francisco Bay
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.