Cargo with 650 fragments from the extinct beasts was held in Vladivostok after illegal export from Yakutia.
‘This is the first time Primorsky region border guards have come across such a volume of ancient fossils.’ Picture: FSB in Primorsky region
The ivory seizure is reported to be the largest-ever of mammoth tusks and it was due to be sent out of Russia with false documentation.
The final destination of the tusks has not been disclosed, but such black market cargoes are often directed to China.
‘This is the first time Primorsky region border guards have come across such a volume of ancient fossils’, said an official.
The documents that came together with the container stated that the cargo had no cultural value and was estimated as worth less than 2 million roubles – $35,000.
‘More than 650 fragments of various weight and size were studied.’ Pictures: FSB in Primorsky region
‘Analysis proved that the tusks and their parts were of best quality and definitely carried a cultural value,’ said a border control expert.
‘More than 650 fragments of various weight and size were studied.
‘Fourteen of them were of special value as these were full sets of incredibly well-preserved mammoth tusks.
‘Any museum in Russia would have dreamed to receive even one as part of their collection.’
The single haul was equal to 75% of all seizures of animal remains exported last year.
There is a booming but illegal trade in mammoth remains with tusk pirates working in gangs to dig the ivory from the permafrost especially in Yakutia.