Hundreds of Primate Skulls Headed for US Seized by Customs at Paris Airport

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Customs officers seized nearly 400 primate skulls destined for the US at France’s largest airport over several months last year, France’s customs service said on Thursday, September 21.

The 392 skulls were seized, along with 326 skulls of other animals, by agents at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris between May and December, and were handed over to the Aix-en-Provence Natural History Museum on Thursday.

The primate skulls were mainly from Cameroon and “were intended for the United States for collectors or as prizes or gifts for hunting associations,” the customs agency said. The skulls were mostly from monkeys, with some from chimpanzees and mandrills.

The customs agency said it “wanted to alert public opinion and the international community to this practice, as morbid as it is worrying.”

“I am stunned to imagine that our closest relatives, monkeys and great apes, are decimated and the tropical forests plundered of their endangered biodiversity for a market as stupid as it is revolting,” said Sabrina Krief, a great apes specialist at France’s National Museum of Natural History. Credit: French Customs/Douane Francaise via Storyful