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article imageExtinct woolly mammoth could become protected species

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Sep 2, 2016 in Environment
Woolly mammoths could become a 'protected species' 4,000 years after going extinct. As the Siberian permafrost melts and reveals long-buried woolly mammoths, poachers are using their tusks to disguise the illegal sale of elephant ivory.
With the thawing of the icy tundras in Siberia , tonnes of woolly mammoth tusks are emerging leading to a burgeoning trade. it's estimated that Russia exports 100 tonnes of mammoth ivory every year. Woolly mammoth ivory isn't protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the 1989 treaty that outlawed most trade in elephant ivory. The Cites treaty is an international agreement between 182 governments around the world.
Initially it was thought that mammoth ivory would act as a substitute for illegal elephant ivory, helping to reduce poaching of African elephants. However, more evidence is emerging that poachers have been passing off elephant tusk ivory as derived from mammoths to get around restrictions currently imposed on elephant tusks. Iris Ho, wildlife program manager at Humane Society International says:
You can sell a mammoth tusk and transport it without any proof of documentation, so you can import and export it very easily. So sellers will ship both elephant and mammoth tusks in the same containers to try and smuggle illegal ivory in with the legal mammoth tusks.
Israel has proposed a resolution aiming to curb trade in woolly mammoth tusks that will be voted on at the meeting this month in Johannesburg of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). John Scanlon, secretary-general of CITES said:
The problem is that mammoth ivory gets confused with ivory from endangered elephants. This is the first long-extinct animal considered for a restriction in trade. We have to work out how we might legally do this.
A recently published survey estimates that a third of the population of African savanna elephants has been wiped out over the last decade with only 300,000 elephants remaining now. Prior to European colonization, Africa had as many as 20 million elephants which had reduced to over 1.3 million by 1979.
More about Woolly mammoth, protected species, ivory poaching
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