Mammoth pirates plunder Russian arctic for "ethical ivory"


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As always in these resource-extraction rushes, the best way to make money is to sell the prospectors the stuff they need (equipment, shelter, food, booze, drugs, sex workers, etc.). According to the article, the prospectors themselves often end their time there with nothing for their efforts.

It’s a shame that rivers and the landscape are being destroyed so that suckers in Asia can get their quack remedies, but better long-dead mammoths than live elephants I suppose.


A story on tusk hunting from National Geographic back in 2013. Sadly it Looks like it’s gotten a lot more industrialized since then.


Apparently these guys have not watched Fortitude


Somebody out there needs ivory handle pistols, somebody.


One of my favorite possessions is a 8-inch cross-section of a mammoth tusk that my grandpa sawed off a find with his coworkers in the 1950s. He was a mechanic for tractors on some some kind of prospecting job somewhere in Alaska after the war. I guess at one point one of the tractors actually fell through some ice into a frozen river and they had to wait till the thaw to get it out. I just work at a computer all day.

Anyway, the mammoth tusk is completely unassuming; it just looks like a very unusual rock until you pick it up and notice how dense it is. Despite it’s dodgy origins (were they allowed to take ivory in the 1950s?), its more of a sentimental item to me.


Personally, I support the ethical ivory trade. It’s done much to reduce poaching of living elephants. The methods described in this article are pretty bad however. Destroying the land to get to old tusks is not the way to go. Aside from the industrialized methods shown here, I still think the ethical ivory trade is a good thing.




Took me a second, but I got it!


And here in the US, antique ivory that was taken when elephants were much more plentiful and legal to hunt (and whale teeth, and narwhal tusks and other such) cannot be legally sold or traded without nigh-impossible paperwork to verify its age. I’m not in favor of poaching elephants or any other ivory bearing critter, but if they have been already dead for decades (or centuries), use that to fill the desire for ivory; don’t ban antiques, then go hunt more.


How hard would it be to make ivory?

Teeth, like eyes, and hair follicles, can come from a single cell. You occasionally find ovaries where eggs have turned to these instead of what was planned. People have attempted to grow human teeth. Might it be economically possible to grow tusks in the lab for the some sort of costs as ivory? Rhino horn too (that’s hair but it would work too).

As for Chinese Medicine, if you want to have tiger dong soup, that could be managed. But why not suggest that nothing is more manly than an atom bomb, and nuclear so waste must be good for virility. It would solve one problem. Or two problems if you could get rid of all the nuclear waste this way.




Gen. Patton! As to the rumor that his pistols were pearl-handled: “They’re ivory. Only a pimp from a cheap New Orleans whorehouse would carry a pearl-handled pistol.”


would be nice if they left enough mammoths for Pleistocene Park.


I had a teacher in elementary school in Santa Monica, CA in the 1960s who kept a chunk of mammoth ivory in her closet to show her classes. Either her husband found a tusk in SoCal on some kind of construction job - or a friend of his had, I can’t remember.

The LA area had all kinds of giant creatures roaming around in prehistoric times, and they didn’t all end up in the La Brea tar pits.


Irreplaceable palaeontology vs renewable critters.

You’ve got a point from an animal welfare POV, but…

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