Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Monday, October 18, 2010

Walrus in the River Plate (Río de la Plata)

Andrew Battell (1565-1614), was an English sailor, who was part of an expedition led by Captain Abraham Cocke to loot Portuguese and Spanish settlements in South America. However he was captured by the natives in Brazil and handed over to the Portuguese who imprisoned him. He was later rescued and wrote about his adventures.

In his account, he mentions in the River Plate, an: "Isle of Lobos Marinos [Sea wolves] that doth abound with seals and sea-morses[1]

This island, located close (12 km - 7.5 mi.) to Punta del Este city in Uruguay (35° 1' 60 S, 54° 52' 60 W), on the northern tip of the Río de la Plata (River Plate) estuary, is currently the second most important reserve of "lobos" in the world. It has a surface area of only 41 hectares (101 acres).

It is home to two (2) different kinds of seals, the South American Sea Lion or "lobo de un pelo" (Otaria flavescens) and the South American Fur Seal or "lobo de dos pelos" (Arctocephalus australis. Hunting these seals was only banned in 1992 and current population is about 180,000 "Fur seals" and 6,500 "Sea Lions".

But, at least nowadays there are no "sea-morses" or walrus in the Southern Hemisphere. I recently posted on the possible existence of Patagonian walrus in the recent past. Perhaps Battell came across the last survivors of this now extinct species.

Or, he may have mistakenly believed that the sea lions were walrus. Or, besides the two varieties of seals, there were "sea morses" (morse is an old name applied to walrus, it is a Russian word (morss) also found in Lapp (morsk), Englishmen in the 1600s used the word "morse" when referring to walrus.

Though the Isla de los Lobos is not within Patagonia, it is quite close, and to the north of it, so if our mysterious "morse" lived on that island, it would also have lived in the colder Patagonian waters just to the south of it.


[1] The strange adventures of Andrew Battell of Leigh, in Angola and the adjoining regions. (1901). London. Hakluyt Society. pp. 5

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2010 International Year of Biodiversity Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall © 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hits since Sept. 2009:
Copyright © 2009-2018 by Austin Victor Whittall.
Todos los derechos reservados por Austin Whittall para esta edición en idioma español y / o inglés. No se permite la reproducción parcial o total, el almacenamiento, el alquiler, la transmisión o la transformación de este libro, en cualquier forma o por cualquier medio, sea electrónico o mecánico, mediante fotocopias, digitalización u otros métodos, sin el permiso previo y escrito del autor, excepto por un periodista, quien puede tomar cortos pasajes para ser usados en un comentario sobre esta obra para ser publicado en una revista o periódico. Su infracción está penada por las leyes 11.723 y 25.446.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without prior written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Please read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy before accessing this blog.

Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy

Patagonian Monsters -