The economic history of the Pribilof Islands is closely tied to this animal, the Northern Fur Seal. Russian sealers at one point nearly extirpated the fur seals here, and while present numbers are huge they are apparently much less than the millions that were historically found here. Local Aleut natives were brought to the Pribs from other parts of Alaska, and they now run the island and benefit from the ecotourism dollars we bring in. Interestingly, the Aleuts mainly worship in the Russian Orthodox faith, and several classic Russian Orthodox churches can be visited on St. Paul.
[photo © guide George Armistead]