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article imageChainsaw used to hack tusks from Paris museum’s elephant exhibit

By Robert Myles     Mar 30, 2013 in World
Paris - Police in Paris last night arrested a 20 year old man after an attempt was made to steal the ivory from an elephant on display at the French capital’s Museum of Natural History by cutting of the tusks from the exhibit with a chainsaw.
The elephant, reputed to have once belonged to King Louis XV of France, was on display at the Museum of Natural History in Paris — the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle. According to RFI, Paris police were alerted after security staff at the museum received reports of the sounds of a chainsaw echoing around the galleries. Shortly afterwards, a 20 year old man was arrested in a street close to the museum with one of the elephant’s tusks still in his possession. The chainsaw used in the attempted theft was later found in the museum.
20 minutes reports that France’s Minister of Higher Education and Research Geneviève Fioraso, speaking to AFP had said an individual had “broken into the Gallery of Comparative Palaeontology and Anatomy at the museum and had tried to steal the tusks off the Louis XV elephant.” The minister went on to say that the security arrangements had worked well to prevent the theft but she deplored the damage to a specimen “of great historical and scientific importance”. She said her Ministry will provide support to the museum to assist with restoration of the elephant exhibit.
Despite a worldwide ban on the ivory trade, efforts have so far failed to prevent an escalation of elephant poaching in the wild. Museums have also become the target of criminals with ivory and rhinoceros horn often being the target.
On March 5, the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin took a decision to remove all exhibits of rhinoceros horn from public displays as a security measure. Just this week, The Scotsman reported that two rhino heads which were on display at Scotland’s oldest museum at Elgin in Moray were moved to be held under lock and key in Edinburgh amid security fears that the exhibits, reckoned to be worth in excess of £400,000, could be targeted by armed gangs intent on stealing rhino horn for re-sale in the Far East.
More about ivory trade, elephant poaching, ivory poaching, paris museums, Paris Natural History Museum
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