The Strangest Things in the World

ページ名:The Strangest Things in the World

Title: The Strangest Things in the World
A Book About Extraordinary Manifestations of Nature
Author: Thomas R. Henry
The Great Seal Migration
The great annual northward migration of the seals is one of the most remarkable phenomena of animal life. It seems to be without organization and without leadership. Yet toward the end of March each year the hundreds of thousands of cow seals and pups scattered over thousands of square miles of water start at about the same time in three great groups bound for three specific places. It has been the same for centuries, perhaps milleniums. Each animal moves at about the same rate so that all arrive within a few days of each other. Unlike birds, they do not move in compact masses. Three great herds exist.
The American herd of about 1,500,000 is by far the largest of the three. It goes straight to the Pribiloffs, where it goes ashore on two almost barren islands—St Paul and St George. The Japanese herd, numbering about 40,000, makes for Robben Island, off northern Japan. The Russian herd, now estimated at about 200,000, goes to a few rocky islands of the Commander archipelago off Kamchatka.
The moving herds consist almost entirely of females and young. The bulls winter further north, tend to be solitary during the winter, and precede the cows to the summer homes. The breeding season lasts for about two months. During this time the bull never eats or touches a drop of water. He never leaves the land. He arrives sleek and fat from the ocean pasture and is able to survive entirely on stored energy. This keeps him alive, even when he fights scores of terrible battles with younger rivals. Towards the end of summer he naturally is a sorry looking creature.
One day, actuated by some common impulse, cows and calves depart. Then the bulls, their arduous labors of race propagation over for ten months, draw back among the rocks for a long rest.


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