Sunday, May 29, 2016

California Fur Rush

Before the 1849 California Fur Rush, American, English, and Russian fur hunters were drawn to Spanish (and then Mexican) in a CA Fur Rush, to exploit its enormous fur resources. Before 1825, these Europeans were drawn to the Northern and Central California coast to harvest prodigious quantities of sea otters and fur seals, and then to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento - San Joaquin River Delta to harvest beavers, river otters, bears, martens, fishers, minks, foxes, weasels, and harbor seals. It was California's early fur trade, more that any other single factor, that opened up the West, and the San Francisco Bay Area in particular, to world trade. California golden beavers are recolonizing the Bay Area from East to West and fur seals began to recolonize the Farallon islands in 1996. Both the California golden beaver and Southern sea otter are keystone species, with a stabilizing and broad impact on their local ecosystems. The spring 2007 sea otter survey counted 3,026 sea otters in the Central California coast, down from a single colony of about 50 sea otters discovered near the mouth of Bixby Creek along California's Big Sur coast in 1938. The grizzly bears of California went extinct in 1924 and in the 1950's, it became California's state animal. Since the 1950's, ecologists have debated the reintroduction of grizzly bears back to California.

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