A centrepiece of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, Woolly the mammoth, was defaced with pink paint by protesters trying to draw attention to climate change.

A statement issued by the new climate campaign “On2Ottawa” says washable pink paint was tossed at the tusks of the three-metre-tall mammoth to protest what it calls "criminal" federal government inaction on the climate emergency.

Victoria Police say three people were arrested for mischief on Wednesday and the incident remains under investigation.

A statement from the museum says staff members cleaned off the water-soluble paint and there was no permanent damage to Woolly, a giant replica of a mammoth whose tusks are made of Fiberglas.

Police say other visitors, including children, were present in the gallery when the paint was splashed.

The exhibition was reopened within 90 minutes.

The On2Ottawa group wants people to join a caravan to Ottawa that's expected to leave Vancouver on April 1 to push for urgent actions needed to tackle climate change.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2023.

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As a long time climate action believer I view this as immature, naive, kneejerk behaviour that does more to turn the public off than to educate. The cause is not advanced by stuff like this. It's one thing to protest the last remnants of old growth forest and organize mass demonstrations against TMX. It's quite another to vandalize public displays and block rush traffic on busy highways. All the public sees is the petty, needless vandalism and danger that fail to communicate any reasonable message.

They got their photo-op, and succeeded in turning off that many more people. In all likelihood these kids will regret their acts over the next two decades when they are applying for jobs and the prospective employers have HR staff simply Google their names as standard practice on every application.

I totally agree with your assessment of this unfortunate wilful vandalism and its resultant detrimental effect on rational, calm and informed discussion of this global existential crisis. Youthful enthusiasm, commitment, and activism are certainly welcome in the campaign to address climate change, and are indeed a necessary component of a successful outcome for both current and future generations, but actions like this only serve to turn people off (at least it was soluble paint).

By all means peacefully protest the shameful inaction of governments and corporations on this critical issue, but please don’t willfully contribute to feeding the paranoid, frenzied, conspiratorial delusions of some of the increasingly angry, selfish, and ill-informed opponents of taking effective and necessary action to address climate change by taking ill-advised actions such as this example.

My advice to this person is to direct her youthful energy, indignation and obvious environmental passion, and awareness, towards mobilizing the youth vote in elections at all levels of government. And, of course, vote in every election and advocate for meaningful electoral reform; voting is paramount to the success of this campaign and many others; it’s the key to a healthy democracy.