xoxoxoBruce Friday Jun 16 12:19 AM
June 16th, 2017: Ivory Rush
The Russian Yakutsk region, which is eight times the size of Germany has only a population of about 270,000. A few years ago
The area was soon overrun each summer with what is best described as Ivory fever. But when the easy pickings were gone they
imitated gold miners in the US and Canada, bringing in high pressure pumps and fire hoses to wash away dirt.
Not just washing away the bank, but tunneling as much as 60m(200 ft) into the Earth, and carving out caverns.
The living conditions are horrible, and warm days they dress like bee keepers. It’s estimated only around 20-30 % will find
something valuable enough to make a profit which sucks for the ones who took bank loans to pay for these expeditions.
But one found this woolly rhinoceros 2.4kg(5.3 lb) horn they sold to an agent for $14,000. It will probably end up in Vietnam
ground into powder for curing everything from cancer to limp dick.
The only diversion is eating and drinking. Since they’ve killed all the fish(see the mud and gas/oil slick in the first picture) and
the pump noise scared away the game they have to resupply from town 5 hours away by boat. With 24 hour sunlight the pumps
burn a lot of gas, one group went through 5 tons in 3 weeks, so resupply is frequent and every boat brings back a lot of alcohol.
However some get lucky like this 65kg(143.3 lb) tusk that sold for $34,000.
The two guys who found that tusk dug out 3 more in a week, including a 72kg(158.7 lb) beauty. The 4 tusks were probably worth
over $100,000, so they got drunk, packed up, got more drunk, and headed home. On the way home the boat crashed and they
both drown. Don’t know about the dog but he wasn’t drunk so may have made it.
Now understand this whole business is illegal but in an area where income averages $500 a month it’s a big temptation.
When the “greenie” patrol boat (environmental-protection officers plus police) comes the valley gets quiet and the men melt
into woods. Can’t very well hide the destruction.
The fine for illegal tusk hunting is only $45, but they have a 3 strikes rule after which Putin takes it personal.
That's not a good thing, Pussey Riot can attest to that.
Snakeadelic Friday Jun 16 08:35 AM
And here we see why no ivory, modern or fossil, elephant, mammoth, or walrus will ever grace my mineral collections. Rhino horn either--it's not ivory, even. Ivory is dental; whether walrus, mammoth, narwhal, sperm whale, or elephant, ivory is teeth.
glatt Friday Jun 16 08:40 AM
Excellent IOTD. Thanks, Bruce.
Snakeadelic Friday Jun 16 08:40 AM
Oh...the dog on the boat that crashed. It's a laika, not so much a "breed" like its most famous descendant, the Siberian husky, as it is what's called a "landrace". That just means there are no formal breeding organizations, pedigrees, etc in a dog population that all tend to look very similar. There are laika breeds now: East Siberian, West Siberian, Russo-European, Karelo-Finnish, Nenets, and Yakut are the ones I've found so far. Unless it was killed or badly injured in the crash, odds are the dog's fine and has either gone feral in the woods or gone back to its owners' home village.
Diaphone Jim Friday Jun 16 07:17 PM
The gold mine high in the Andes, the rare earth mudholes in Africa and this hell hole in Russia make me feel embarrassed with riches and ease.
xoxoxoBruce Friday Jun 16 07:20 PM
I had to include the mosquito feet, but thought it kinder to reduce it's size.
Diaphone Jim Friday Jun 16 08:21 PM