Mammoths and Global Warming Saving the Elephant?

mammoth-240677_1280How is global warming and the already extinct woolly mammoth helping save elephants? David Leveille from PRI, reported that because of anti-poaching efforts, traders are now using mammoth tusks in place of elephant ivory.  The reasoning behind this is 1) mammoth ivory is almost identical to elephants ivory and 2) global warming is rapidly exposing mammoth remains, making it much easier to obtain.  The more elephants are killed, the higher the price of their ivory. Now with ivory being worth more than gold, traders are doing whatever they can to sell.

Leveille points out that while the selling of mammoth ivory is diverting the killing of elephants, it is only diverting the killing elephants, keeping the demand for ivory alive and the need of ivory still present. Another argument that could be made is that because selling mammoth ivory is legal, traders are disguising elephant ivory as mammoth ivory in order to smuggle it into the market making much harder for authorities to obtain.

Others are concerned about the preservation of the mammoth but Leveille quotes, “But can you simply add an extinct species to an endangered species list? The conservation issues that arise in the case of elephants and woolly mammoths are quite different, says [Dan Fisher, a palaeontologist at the Museum of Palaeontology at the University of Michigan]”

So while there are deeper arguments to have about the selling of mammoth ivory, it is allowing a few more elephants to survive another day in the ivory war.

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