The melting of Siberian permafrost is a major environmental problem. It causes large greenhouse gas leaks, damages buildings and creates large cracks in the ground. A huge number of people are risking their lives to extract mammoth tusks from the frozen land. Most of the world’s mammoth ivory come from Yakutia. This is a dangerous job. The miners borrow a lot of money to buy the necessary equipment. They dig into the melting permafrost and try to find mammoth tusks there.

They are of great value and, as ivory sales are banned in China and many other countries, mammoth ivory is highly valued. But it is difficult to legally export her out of the country because she has to obtain a certificate. Many vendors try to avoid this paperwork and sell mammoth tusks illegally. Intact tusks without cracks have the greatest value. See a document below that shows what mammoth tusk mining looks like and how much money it makes for miners.

Photo credit: Amos Chapple