National Geographic : 1952 Apr
512 Victor B. Scheffer and Karl W. Kenyon Not a Frown in a Classroom. Happy Aleut Children Attend School on St. Paul Few kids play hooky here; attendance is 98 percent. They love arithmetic, staying late, if teacher is willing, to do problems. Home economics delights the girls, manual training the boys. Most children wear made-in-the-U.S. clothes ordered by mail from catalogs brought by air to the Pribilofs. annual auctions under Government super vision. The Alaska sealskin, because of its beauty, durability, and rarity, has often been called the "gold standard" among furs, and it is true that the market value of sealskins, with relation to other furs, has remained fairly stable during recent years. The skinned carcasses, rich in protein, fat, and minerals, are taken to the by-products plant where they are converted into meal and oil. The meal is eventually used in the States in chicken feed and the oil in soap. The net revenue to the Government from meal and oil amounts to about $45,000 a year. It was 9:30 a. m. now, and sealing was over. While some of the sealers gathered choice cuts of meat, we assembled our specimens and, on the side, gathered a bucket of tasty seal livers for the boardinghouse table. As we were about to leave for the village, Victor suddenly turned in our direction with a grin. "Where is that cigar?" he shouted. "We got 976 this morning." Today on the fur seal islands, St. Paul and St. George, we see the prophecy of 1911 ful filled. Under the program then launched, the seal herd has come of age and now provides an annual profit of about $1,000,000 to the American people. Since the discovery of the Pribilofs the Alaska seal herd has yielded about 8,000,000 skins. Of this total, 1,500,000 have been taken in the era of modern management, since 1911, and these have brought the Federal Treasury a net profit of approximately $13,740,000. Thus the seals have repaid, nearly twice over, the $7,200,000 which our Government gave Russia for all Alaska. We hope that the biological studies now in progress will contribute toward a fuller understanding of an interesting animal and will enable the Government to increase and sustain the revenue from a great natural resource.