Skip to main content

Climate activist spreads paint on mammoth at Royal B.C. Museum


A climate activist was escorted out of the Royal B.C. Museum by police Wednesday morning after spreading pink paint on the museum's woolly mammoth replica.

Organizers of the protest described it as the launch of a new campaign called "On2Ottawa," a "caravan" that will depart Vancouver on April 1 and travel to Canada's capital.

Laura Sullivan, a 24-year-old climate activist and former UBC engineering student, applied the paint to the mammoth's tusks.

"I will be going to Ottawa as part of a caravan to demand immediate action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and would encourage everyone to join, especially youth," Sullivan said in a statement from the campaign.

Organizers said the caravan intends to issue "an ultimatum" to the prime minister and his cabinet for their alleged "criminal inaction" on climate change. 

The ultimatum calls on the government to establish a citizens' assembly "to decide how Canada's economy will be transformed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency in the next two to three years" and threatens "waves of caravans" that will aim to occupy Ottawa indefinitely until their demands are met.

On2Ottawa described Sullivan's protest Wednesday as "a continuation of worldwide disruptions of iconic paintings and symbols to wake people and governments up to the urgent actions needed to tackle the climate emergency."

Last year, climate activists made international headlines for throwing soup on a Vincent Van Gogh painting at the National Gallery in London.

Closer to home, protesters opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. threw maple syrup onto an Emily Carr painting at the Vancouver Art Gallery in November. 

Laura Sullivan, a 24-year-old climate activist and former UBC engineering student, applied the paint to the mammoth's tusks. (On2Ottawa)The museum confirmed the vandalism occurred around 11 a.m. and said staff had already removed the washable paint from the mammoth by 1 p.m.

"Museum security staff safely reprimanded those involved, and called [the] Victoria Police Department who quickly arrived on the scene and escorted the activists into custody," said the museum in a statement.

"There was no permanent damage to Woolly, who has been a favourite for visitors to the museum for over 40 years, and the exhibition was reopened within 90 minutes," the statement added.

The Victoria Police Department says three people were arrested for the incident Wednesday, and that other visitors of the museum were present during the vandalism.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and anyone with information who has not yet spoken with investigators is asked to call Victoria police at 250-995-7654.

Anonymous tips can also be sent to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers online or at 1-800-222-8477. Top Stories

Stay Connected