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a mammal—wild or in captivity —whose pelt is used for making fur articles.
Fur-bearing animals are widely distributed throughout the world, with the greatest number of species, more than 100, found in the USSR. More than 40 species encountered in the USSR belong to the order Carnivora. These include the sable, sea otter, otter, marten, mink, red fox, ermine, Siberian weasel, arctic fox, polecat, wolf, badger, raccoon dog, wolverine, jackal, lynx, tiger, and bear. The USSR has more than 40 species of the order Rodentia (squirrel, muskrat, beaver, coypu, suslik, hamster, chipmunk, marmot) and 13 species of the order Lagomorpha (blue hare, European hare, cape hare, Manchurian hare, several species of pika). Insectivores (desman, several species of mole) and pinnipeds (northern fur seal) are also encountered in the USSR.
Most fur-bearing animals in the USSR are part of the State Game Resources and are hunted by rifle or trapped. The hunting of rare fur-bearing species, such as the tiger, leopard, snow leopard, polar bear, Asiatic wild dog, and cheetah, is prohibited in the USSR. Some fur-bearing animals are raised and bred in captivity (seeFUR FARMING). These include the red fox, arctic fox, American mink, coypu, and chinchilla.
Fur-bearing animals are distributed in all the natural zones of the USSR. They are hunted mainly in the tundra, in the Siberian taiga, in the forests of the European USSR, in the forest steppes, and in the Caucasus and the Tien-Shan and Pamir mountains. The pelts are a valuable raw material for the fur industry and constitute an international trading commodity.
Outside the USSR, fur-bearing animals are hunted primarily in Canada, the United States, Finland, and Sweden. The most commonly hunted fur-bearing animals are the squirrel, musk-rat, beaver, mink, arctic fox, red fox, marten, fisher, and raccoon. Important achievements in the raising and breeding of fur-bearing animals in captivity have been attained in the United States, the countries of Western and Central Europe, and Japan.
REFERENCESKolosov, A. M., N. P. Lavrov, and S. P. Naumov. Biologiia promyslovykh zverei SSSR. Moscow, 1965.
Pushnye zveri (catalog). Moscow, 1969.
N. N. GRAKOV