BLAGOVESHCHENSK, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – Police in Russia’s Far East Amur Region have seized some 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds) of mammoth tusks from residents of the neighboring Republic of Yakutia, the regional interior affairs department said on Monday.
“Police found 71 tusks weighing about 600 kilograms at a warehouse [in Blagoveschensk],” the department said, adding three men were planning to sell the tusks to Chinese nationals.
Police are currently investigating whether the fossils were obtained legally.
The world market price of mammoth tusk is almost equal to the price of silver. One kilogram is worth 5,000 rubles ($166) at international auctions in Yakutsk, capital of Yakutia.
Some 90 percent of the mammoth remains found so far have come from Yakutia. The region’s extreme weather conditions and permafrost allow scientists to find their remains largely intact.