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Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, [1891], at


There are no quadrupeds peculiar to the island except several varieties of rodents. The ancient traditions claim that a goat-like animal was found here by the first colonists, with wide-spreading horns and giving six young at a birth. It is difficult to imagine the foundation for this fancy. We found no representation of such an animal either in the mural paintings or outlined on the sculptured rocks, and diligent search of the débris of the caves failed to disclose any of the bones or traces of mammals.

La Pérouse found the islanders without domestic animals, and left with them two ewes, a she-goat, and a sow, with the male of each species. Their native names indicate the recent addition to the language. In the caves and among the ruins we saw many rats of great size. The examination of the tombs disclosed the fact that the bones had been frequently gnawed by these rodents, and their nests were sometimes found inside the crania.

There are on the island a few cats as wild is though they had never seen the face of man, though they are descended from feline pets landed by some passing vessel. They have grown to in immense size, and upon several occasions when encountered in the dark recesses of a cave

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or tomb presented a formidable appearance. Messrs. Salmon & Brander have a herd of 600 cattle, and a flock of sheep numbering 18,000. The cattle are from Chilian stock, are small, averaging only about 400 pounds, and possess no dairy qualities; the cows giving barely enough milk to rear their calves. The sheep were also imported from Chili. The wool is coarse and scant, the average being only about 2 pounds per animal. The export of last year in wool was 16 tons, and was shipped to Europe via Tahiti. An effort will be made next year to improve the breed of sheep by introducing blooded rains from Australia. A few tough little horses have been introduced from the island breed of Tahiti, but it is doubtful whether this will ever become an important industry.

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