Siberian Mammoth Pirates

In Russia’s Siberian wilderness, a new gold rush is on, as local ‘tuskers’ evade police and set up temporary illegal ivory mines, blasting away soil and permafrost to find the tusks, horns, and bones of long-extinct woolly mammoths and rhinos. Demand for ivory remains huge in China and other Asian nations, and the market for elephant tusks is tightening as preservation efforts increase. A large mammoth tusk—“ethical ivory”—can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to a lucky tusker. Photographer Amos Chapple, working for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, traveled to Russia’s Yakutia region with some of these tuskers, documenting their search, the environmental impact, and some of their finds. Be sure to see his full story at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Pedro Pardo / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Central American Immigrant Caravan

    Photographs of the U.S.-bound caravan of Central American immigrants over its first 10 days, from Honduras to Mexico, and some of the difficult paths taken by those involved

  • Toru Hanai / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Virtual Parish, Drone Tourism, Rock Santa

    A royal visit to Australia, a Napoleonic-battle reenactment in Spain, marijuana legalization in Canada, fall colors in Japan and Europe, and much more

  • Henry Nicholls / Reuters

    Images of the Season: Fall Is in the Air, Part 2

    One last look at my favorite season of the year, with more autumnal images from across the Northern Hemisphere

  • Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

    Robots at Work and Play

    Recent images of robotic technology around the world