Woman With Prehistoric Ivory Hidden Under Skirt Seized By Customs Cops

Russian customs police unearth a stash of mammoth ivory hidden under the skirt of a woman trafficker.

Mammoth ivory has seen growing popularity in jewellery due to its ethical sourcing.

Unlike elephant ivory, which can involve the loss of currently living animals due to illegal poaching, mammoth ivory is harvested from already extinct mammoths.

It is a rare and prized material traded in luxury collector and artisan markets around the world. Mammoth ivory is the inner core of a tusk and has a uniform texture and typical “ivory” colourations, usually white or creamy-white.


The suspicious officers spotted that the woman, not named in local media, was extremely nervous as she went through a border crossing in Blagoveshchensk on the Chinese border.

Video footage shows her being sent back and forth through airport-style scanners before officials found a haul of 13lbs of prehistoric tusks taped to her legs.

Later footage shows customs experts studying the ancient ivory, which had been cut into 537 segments.

Local media reports say the woman, said to be a Chinese national, confessed to smuggling and said she’d planned to carve craft figurines from the tusks.

Mammoth ivory is worth more than USD 350 (GBP 276) per kilogramme in Russia and the entire haul was estimated to be worth around USD 2,100 (GBP 1,660).

Russia’s Federal Customs Service said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “More than six kilogrammes [13 lbs] of mammoth ivory souvenir blanks were discovered by customs officers under the clothing of a Chinese citizen.

“The woman had taped the valuable raw material to her legs with tape and covered it with a voluminous skirt.”

They continued: “An expert examination confirmed that the seized goods were semi-finished products made from mammoth ivory.

Footage shows seized mammoth tusks at customs of Blagoveshchensk, Amur Oblast, Russia, undated. The woman taped them to her legs and covered it with a big skirt. (@customs_rus/Newsflash )

“Exporting such items requires permission from the Ministry of Culture.

“An administrative case has been initiated for concealing goods from inspection.

“The offender faces a fine of up to three times the value of the goods, along with confiscation.”

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Story By: Georgina JedikovskaSub-EditorGeorgina JedikovskaAgency: Newsflash

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