Erosion, Sedimentation, and Woolly Mammoths

What does erosion and sediment control have to do with woolly mammoths? The answer is illegal tusk hunting in the permafrost regions of Siberia resulting in the destruction of land and sediment clogged waterways.

Today's blog is a repost of some recent articles about people hunting for ancient woolly mammoth tusks buried and preserved in the permafrost of Siberia. Increasingly stringent regulations and cultural norms surrounding the trade of elephant ivory are leading people to turn to the thawing permafrost for a new source of ivory.

The tusk hunters are mining the mammoth ivory by use high pressure pumps to draw water from nearby rivers. The hunters use hoses to blast away the soft soil exposing the underlying tusks. The sediment-laden slurry flows back to the river discharging sediment and choking out the riverine wildlife.

The most poigninant quote from the various article is when the reporter Amos Chapple relates; “One tusker told me, “I know it’s bad, but what can I do? No work, lots of kids.”

“Photographer Joins Illegal Mammoth Tusk Hunt In Siberia, Captures How They Get Rich, Get Drunk And Nearly Die”


“Woolly Mammoths Are Long Gone, But The Hunt For Their Ivory Tusks Lives On”


“As Arctic Ice Melts, It's A Free-For-All For Oil ... And Tusks”


Blog author: Brent Eysenbach, Stormwater Program Coordinator

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