Although wooly mammoths have long vanished from Earth, residents of Russia’s Yakutia Republic capital got a rare opportunity to gape at two icy statues of the mighty beasts ahead of the holiday season.
The sculpted figures could be easily confused with the real ancient creatures that once roamed Earth’s surface, given the thick winter fog in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, where temperatures can drop to minus 65 Celsius (-85 Farenheit). To fashion a three-meter mammoth and its half-size baby version, local sculptor Oleg Savvinov along with his son Ayaal used only water and snow.
“There was a lot of climbing up and down, with the wind and weather not being too helpful,” Ayaal told the Siberian Times. In a rush to finish their work before the New Year, the father and son duo spent two weeks on their sculptures, enduring -42C temperatures.
To make the mammoths more lifelike, the artists painted them in brown and covered it with hair. Harsh weather and snowstorms worked their wonders, too, sprinkling more snow on the animals, which now guard the entrance to the city’s administrative building.
Since mammoths are seen as the “recognized brand” of the Yakutia Republic (also known as Sakha), the sculptor came up with the idea and offered the city authorities to decorate the city center with the gigantic icy figures. Known for its vast lands of eternal frost, the remote northern region stores many remains of ancient species.
“We are hoping that the two mammoths will bring cheer to the hearts of our people and visitors, and that they will become a nice addition to winter Yakutsk,” Ayaal said.
“It turned out very realistic, they look as they were alive in our heavy December fog!” city mayor Aysen Nickolaev wrote on his Instagram account.
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