Where and how is Mammoth Ivory Procured?
Trade and carving of mammoth ivory is not a new phenomenon because since the 17th century, in Siberia, mammoth ivory has always not only been carved but has also been used to barter for other products. Being a main center for mammoth ivory procurement, Siberian permafrost holds more than half of the extinct Woolly Mammoth carcasses that are the source of the milky white ivory that conforms to all international legal standards.
The legal trade in ivory is further bolstered by the fact that it does not endanger any living species but only harvests the remains of over 10,000- 30,000 years old fossilized mammoth ivory. In the recent years, global warming and intense melting of the tundra has exposed remains of innumerable raw ivory and mammoth bones that are ecological friendly and fill in the gap created by banning the elephant ivory.
Mammoth ivory is the only type of ivory that is allowed legally to enter USA and many other countries. Even conservationists are happy with this trade as it utilizes raw ivory that would have been wasted otherwise and also saves elephants from illegal poaching to cater to the demand of ivory.
From the study conducted on Woolly Mammoths, it is now known that they were in existence 400,000 years ago and were there at least till the last Ice age, 10,000 years ago. However, some of the remains of the Woolly Mammoths have been found in an island close to Russian region of Chukotka in the early 1990s.
Procuring mammoth ivory is a difficult task but heavy rains, erosion of the top soil and constant digging done by the oil and gas companies have made it relatively easy to harvest the remains of bones, tusks and other pieces with the trademark green patina. But these tusks, and chunks of tusks need to be conserved otherwise, they dry out easily and splinter within a short time span.
These excavated bone, tusks and other tissues correspond to the Pleistocene era and according to researchers, there are about 150 million remains of the mammoth still embedded inside the permafrost. Some of the mammoths are frozen as if in suspended in action while others are found buried in groups while more often chunks, broken tusks, bits and pieces of wool are also found.
Mammoth experts believe that the trade in extinct mammoth ivory is a good way of preserving ecological rich material which would have otherwise been ravaged by time and weather, while over hundreds of tons of mammoth ivory is still lost in Russia due to poor preservation or over exposure due to natural weather conditions.
The legal sanction, availability and green signal of the conservationists have given the trade in Mammoth ivory a sanction to go ahead and let the elephants lead an easier life.
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