Mammoth DNA found in Cambodia market items

January 4, 2019
The frame specimen of a mammoth is displayed at an exhibition in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on July 12, 2013; the giant mammals have been extinct for around 10,000 years and are not covered by international agreements on endangered species

Scientists tackling the illegal trade in elephant ivory got more than they bargained for when they found woolly mammoth DNA in trinkets on sale in Cambodia, they revealed Friday.

"It was a surprise for us to find trinkets made from woolly mammoth ivory in circulation, especially so early into our testing and in a tropical country like Cambodia," said Alex Ball, manager at the WildGenes laboratory, a wildlife conservation charity based at Edinburgh Zoo.

"It is very hard to say what the implications of this finding are for existing elephant populations, however we plan to continue our research and will use genetics to work out where it has come from."

The giant mammals have been extinct for around 10,000 years and are not covered by international agreements on endangered species.

WildGenes has been using to tackle wildlife crime by determining the origin of ivory finding its way to the marketplace.

"It is estimated that globally over 30,000 elephants are killed every year for their ivory and it appears there are increasing amounts of ivory for sale within Cambodia," said Ball.

"Understanding where the ivory is coming from is vital for looking to block routes."

Britain last year banned sales of all ivory except for the rarest and most important antiques.

Explore further: Cambodia seizes record 3-tonne haul of African ivory

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5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2019
So at no point do they mention where they are getting mammoth tusk from.
5 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2019
A BBC source says it's from the Arctic tundra. It would have been nice to include that detail here.
not rated yet Jan 06, 2019
While I would be perfectly willing to shoot and kill modern elephant or rhino poachers, I can't see where any countries government can have any valid complaints about using mammoth ivory.
I honestly don't see the point of carving anything out of it anyway in the modern world but I'm not oriental either.
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2019
I can't see where any countries government can have any valid complaints about using mammoth ivory
Its the principle dude. Like wanting to ban all guns because criminals shoot people with them. Disneyland ethics.
Da Schneib
2 / 5 (4) Jan 06, 2019
If it's mammoth ivory, then it was stolen from a mammoth archaeological site.

While this isn't as bad as killing living elephants for it, it's still pretty bad. We could have gotten a lot of data from those mammoth sites. Now it's gone, flushed down the drain when they ground these tusks up for profit.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2019
Mammoth remains hunting is a business in Siberia. Not all of it goes to archaeologists.
not rated yet Jan 07, 2019
Scheide dont know the difference between archeology and paleontology haha.

Yeah theres a collectors market for mammoth ivory. Friend of mine had a tusk in his living room.

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