Mammoth tusks open new loopholes for poachers

(ORDO NEWS) — At first glance, the fossil bone trade has nothing to do with the conservation of existing animal species, but scientists believe that this is not the case.

Paradoxically, the mammoth tusks that have flooded the black market not only do not save the lives of modern elephants, but also provide new opportunities for poachers.

On the black market, a kilogram of ivory , a precious material made from elephant tusks, can fetch up to three thousand dollars.

Its main buyer is Southeast Asia, where figurines and jewelry are carved from elephant tusks, and the powder from them is used in traditional medicine.

Officially, the trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, but the high price attracts poachers. In Africa alone, up to 55 elephants lose their lives every year because of their tusks.

Since all three modern elephant species are extremely rare (and one of them, the African forest elephant , is on the verge of extinction ), even a small percentage of animals killed can be critical to their survival.

Conservationists are desperately fighting against illegal hunting of elephants, every year the laws on poaching are tightened, and since 2018 in China – the main buyer of elephant tusks – all legal ivory carving enterprises have been closed.

Nevertheless, tusk suppliers, often associated with crime syndicates, have found a new loophole for transporting ivory – mammoth tusks .

Since 2002, mammoth tusk, which had hardly been used before, has been used to make up to 40 percent of ivory products in Beijing and up to 70 percent in Shanghai, according to a recent report.

Moreover, the demand for the tusks of modern elephants has not fallen at all because of this, some traders even pass off ivory as an “unforbidden” mammoth tusk, because it is almost impossible to distinguish them, especially in the form of small figurines or ornaments. impossible.

Mammoth tusks open new loopholes for poachers 2
Sections of elephant ( left ) and mammoth ( right ) tusks: as beads or miniature carvings, the difference will be almost imperceptible

Although some researchers argue that the demand for mammoth tusks is for the benefit of modern elephants, the sale of ivory crafts requires tight control and the prevention of the use of endangered animal bones under the guise of long-extinct bones.

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