Steller’s Sea Cow was a mammal which ate vegetation and adapted to living entirely in the water.
Could an animal that supposedly went extinct in 1768 still be in the waters of the Pacific?
Discovered by a naturalist, Georg Steller while exploring with Vitus Bering to a sea that is now named after him.
The discovery took place in the early 1740’s, where several thousand Stellers Sea Cow’s lived off the coast in shallow Pacific waters.
Steller's Sea Cow
The animals were large, rouind and were said to be fun loving and playful and much to unafraid or man for their own good apparently.
They trabeled in herds, which contained both male and female as well as the smaller cubs.
Not long after the discovery of the hapless animals, due to their friendliness, and the fact that they were essentially defenseless, hunters for fur discovered that the meat of the Sea cow was very tasty and easy to get.
Less than 27 years, the Steller’s Sea Cow had been systematically killed off to the brink of extinction. The last Sea cow died purportedly on an island in the Bering sea in 1768.
Strangely, the story doesn’t quite end here. For the past 200 years, tales of Sea cow sightings have grown in number. People who lived on the Bering Island claimed to have eaten sea cow as late as early 1780.
In 1830, a naturalist from Poland was sure that he had seen Sea Cows on the Bering Island, while supposedly a Stellers Cow had washed up to the shore in Cape Chaplin in Siberia in 1910 and the crew of a whaling boat manned by Russian sailors observed what they believed to be a whole group of Sea Cows in 1962.
More recently.. in 2006, a report comes from Washington State, which is added to the continuing saga of the Steller’s Sea Cow.
Is it possible that an animal supposedly extinct for nearly 300 years is still alive and hiding somewhere in the Pacific?? It is indeed.
Witness the fish (coelacanth) which was thought to be extinct for centuries until specimens were found in the late 1930’s. Could an animal such as Stellers Sea cow have survived the slaughter of the sailors and be still ranging? I certainly hope that is the case.
Find out more about Steller’s Sea Cow over at Wikipedia »