Ivory: A very disturbing premiere !

30 Mar 2013

Whatever the motivations of the ivory thief at the Museum of Natural History in Paris are, this heist is to be taken seriously. Is it a personal initiative, an order, or the emergence of a new underground ivory trafficking network in France and Europe?

Since 2011, 82 rhinoceros horns were stolen in Europe, including 7 in France. These thefts are attributed to organized criminal networks. They target museums, antique dealers, auction rooms, taxidermists, and private collectors. These thefts are sometimes accompanied by violence. In zoos, rhinos are under increased protection. The development of thefts is parallel to the increase of poaching in Africa and Asia and the increased price per kilo of the rhinoceros horn on the legal and black markets. Some experts suggest the price goes up to 65,000 euros per kilo.

To our knowledge, it is the first time for an elephant tusk theft to occur in a European museum. Elephant poaching is also increasing, and the price of ivory is estimated at around 6,000 euros per kilo. Currently, the average weight of a poached elephant tusk is 4 to 5 kilos. The tusk that was stolen from the Paris Natural History Museum is likely to weigh twice as much.






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