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KAROSSES OR SKIN CLOAKS.
and digestible, and can often be taken by individuals when other food is rejected by the stomach.*
Superb karosses or cloaks are made and worn by the Kafir chiefs, composed of the skins of antelopes and other wild animals neatly sewn together, among which the leopard skin, jackal, and fox skin, seem to predominate. They are much valued for the variety and beauty of the skins of which they are composed, as well as for the neatness of the workmanship, all the pieces being sewed together with sinew. Hundreds, if not thousands, of these are purchased annually by traders and sent into the markets of the Cape Colony for sale. A good one will fetch £8 or £9.
In former times the occasional migrations of the springboks into the settled districts of the Cape Colony used to be looked upon with dread.
The number of these animals sometimes seen in the Karroo Plains, within a compass of fifty miles, has been computed to be at least 100,000. It is scarcely possible for a person passing over the extensive tracts of the interior and admiring this elegant antelope, thinly scattered over the plains and bounding in playful innocence, to figure to himself that these ornaments of the desert can often become as destructive as the locusts themselves. The incredible number which sometimes pour in from the north, during protracted droughts, distress the farmer inconceivably. Dr. Livingstone states that in their migrations, when first they cross the colonial boundary, they are said to exceed forty thousand in number.
He also mentions that great numbers of wild animals, gnus, koodoos, zebras, &c., die from pleuro-pneumonia, although the mortality produces no sensible diminution in the quantity of game. He inculcates, therefore, caution, for “when the flesh of animals that have died from the disease is eaten it causes a malignant carbuncle; and when this appears over any important organ it proves rapidly fatal. It is more especially dangerous
* Silver's “ Handbook for South Africa."
VAST NUMBERS OF SPRINGBOK.
over the pit of the stomach. The effects of the poison have been experienced by missionaries who have partaken of food not visibly affected by the disease. Many of the Bakwains who persisted in devouring the flesh of animals which had perished from the distemper died in consequence. The virus is destroyed neither by boiling nor roasting. This fact, of which we have had innumerable examples, shows the superiority of experiments on a large scale to those of physiologists in the laboratory, for a'well known physician of Paris, after careful investigation, considered that the virus was completely neutralized by boiling."
THE GNU.—There are two well defined species of this antelope. 1. The common black gnu or kokoon of the Bechuanas (Catoblepas [Connochetes] Gnu), which is found in the plains of the Free State and the Transvaal, with horns bent forward and downwards, points bent at an acute angle upward. Their length being 26 inches.
2. The brindled gnu, or “wilde beeste” of the Hottentots
THE GNU AND GIRAFFE.
(Connochetes Gorgon); with horns 18 to 20 inches long, bent outward, the points bend over at acute angles towards each other. Of late years large quantities of the skins have come into commerce, as they make excellent bands for machinery. In 1871 as many as 34,622 dry gnu hides were sold in London. In 1874 no fewer than 20,000 gnus were destroyed in South Africa for their hides.
The GIRAFFE (Camelopardalis Giraffa) is hunted in Kordofan chiefly for its flesh, which is eaten—that of the young is said to be delicate—and for the stout skin, from which bucklers and sandals are made. The bones have also been imported for cutlers' use, as handles. The giraffes brought to Europe come generally from Nubia and Sennaar. In South Africa the giraffe has long since retired before the tide of colonial emigration, and is not to be met with south of Kolobeng, a point 380 miles north of the Orange River. The Hottentots in Southern Africa used to hunt the animal principally on account of its marrow, which is a delicacy they set a high value on.
The following list of other species of antelopes, with their common and scientific names, found in South Africa, may be found useful for reference, although they do not demand special notice or description :-Koodoo (Strepsiceros capensis, Harris), sable antelope (Ægocerus niger), roan antelope (Ægocerus equina), waterbok Ægocerus ellipsyprymnus). Hartebeeste (Acronotus [Alcelaphus] caama), bastard hartebeeste or sayssabe (Acronotus lunata, or Damalis lunatus), pallah or red bushbok (Antilope [Ægoceros] melampus), bontebok (Gazella [Damalis] pygarga), blesbok (Gazella [Damalis] albifrons), bushbok (Tragelaphus sylvaticus), rheebok (Redunca capreolus), rietbok (Redunca eleotragus, Eleotragus arundinaceus, Gray), small rietbok (Redunca isabellina), rooi rheebok (Redunca Lalandii), oribe (Antilope scoparia, Scopophorus ourebi), duiker bok (Cephalophus mergens), steinbok (Tragulus rupestris), klipspringer (Oreotragus saltatrix, Harris), grysbok (Calotragus melanotis, Gray), bluebok or kleinbok (Cephalophus
VARIETIES OF ANTELOPE.
caerulea), and gemsbok (Oryx Gazella). The flesh of the gemsbok ranks next to the eland, and at certain seasons of the year they carry a great quantity of fat. Some smaller doubtful species have been described.
WATERBOK (Antilope (Kobus] ellipsyprymna, Ogilby).
FURS AND THE FUR TRADE.
In this chapter the early use of furs is glanced at, the great Arctic
hunting fields of Europe, Asia, and America, are described-the trade and statistics of furs given in detail—the dressing, dyeing, and preparing of skins for furs. The trade carried on by the Hudson's Bay Company and dealers in the United States, Russia, and Germany, receives notice, with the value of imported furs, preparatory to detailed accounts of the principal fur bearing animals, to be described in subsequent pages.
ALTHOUGH nearly all the orders of the Mammalia supply peltries, it is those of the Carnivora and Rodentia which are chiefly valuable to commerce. Peltries is the name given to skins prepared with the hair on, intended for furs.
To trace the origin of the trade in skins and furs would imply a study on the origin of the human race. Necessity, the mother of invention, soon suggested to the inhabitants of the globe that as nature had not clothed them with sufficient warmth they had better appropriate the skins of animals well provided in this respect. Unaided by experience, without defensive or offensive arms, possessing no knowledge of the different metals which modern society has converted into fearful weapons of destruction, pursued by the large animals, reduced to inhabiting crevices in the rocks and the borders of lakes and rivers for the sake of shelter-man, by his physical organization, was obliged to declare war against all the beings of creation, attacking some as useful auxiliaries to satisfy his daily wants, and others to help him to wage implacable and terrible war against those animals whose nature and instincts precluded them from participating and