Woolly Mammoth Tusks - Grant Zazula
We started this segment with a clip from Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth in the movie Ice Age: The Meltdown. Unfortunately for Manny, we all know how that story ended. The ice did melt. And mammoths did go extinct. That was between four and ten thousand years ago ... depending on what part of the world you're talking about.
But the remains of those mammoths have stayed with us. And now, thanks to global warming, those remains are popping up out of the permafrost.Most of the mammoths are in Russia. And their tusks have become valuable commodities.
With a global ban on elephant ivory, the ivory from woolly mammoth tusks is seen by some as an ethical alternative. Russia is already exporting about 60 tons of mammoth ivory a year to China alone. And there are thought to be about 150 million dead mammoths lying underneath the Siberian tundra ... just waiting to be dug up. According to a new report, the influx of legal mammoth ivory could help cut down on the illegal trade in elephant ivory.
But Grant Zazula has other ideas about what a fossilized woolly mammoth is good for. He's the Yukon Paleontologist ... that's the Yukon Government's official paleontologist. And among other things, he spends his days making sure that the many woolly mammoth tusks being dug up in the Yukon ... end up in the government's hands and not someone else's. Grant Zazula was in Whitehorse.
Woolly Mammoth Tusks - Will Travers
We started this segment with a clip from a Russian carver working on a piece of woolly mammoth ivory. It's also used in jewelry. And it's coveted by collectors.
Proponents of the mammoth ivory trade are hopeful that these relics from long-dead animals will prevent living elephants from being targeted by poachers today, but Will Travers doesn't see it that way. He is the President of the Species Survival Network, and he was in Sussex, England.
Woolly Mammoth Tusks - Esmond Martin
As we mentioned, some people think that opening up the legal trade in woolly mammoth ivory could help undercut the illegal trade in elephant ivory. And a new report supports that idea. It's published in the Pachyderm Journal. It was written by Esmond Martin. He's a wildlife trade specialist based in Nairobi, Kenya. But today he was in Paris.
Last Word - Fifth Estate
Tonight at 9 o'clock on CBC Television -- 9:30 in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador -- it's The Fifth Estate. Tonight, Linden MacIntyre presents Betrayal. Linden grew up Catholic in Cape Breton.
And tonight, he returns to Nova Scotia to explore the impact that the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests is having on the communities there. Linden has written and spoken about this issue before including here on The Current.
But tonight, he has uncovered a new dimension ... the fire sale of local church property and questions about accountability.
We gave Linden the last word this morning.