China customs seize a tonne of mammoth ivory

Indo Asian News Service

Beijing, April 12 (IANS) Chinese customs authorities have seized more than one tonne of mammoth ivory smuggled from Russia in Heilongjiang province, it said on Wednesday.

Luobei customs found 107 mammoth tusks, along with 37 woolly rhino horn parts and 1.11 tonnes of jade in secret compartments of a truck attempting to enter China through Luobei port in mid-February, Xinhua news agency reported.

The driver fled after being informed that the truck, which claimed to carry soybeans, needed further examination. He and the owner of the goods were caught in a hotel later that month.

The owner surnamed Han had bought the truck and built secret compartments for smuggling. He was accused of smuggling goods.

Russia's Siberia region is a major source of mammoth tusks, a raw material for ivory-carving, which are usually uncovered by hunters when the tundra snow melts.