Almost 400 monkey skulls seized at a Paris airport were supposed to arrive in the United States

Paris Airport / Photo by Sandrine Marty / AFP / Profimedia

Customs officials at Paris' main airport seized hundreds of skulls from protected species of monkeys, which were to be used as prizes or gifts.
Those skulls and the skulls of other animals were mainly in packages that arrived from Cameroon, customs at Charles de Gaulle airport said yesterday.

Recipients were to be collectors and hunting clubs in the United States. Some of the packages contained whole animals.

None of the shipments had the necessary permit, and customs officials discovered such shipments almost daily at France's largest airport.

Apart from monkeys, other species such as otters, big cats, monkeys and birds of prey were also smuggled, the customs officials said.

More than 700 monkey and animal skulls seized between May and December 2022 were yesterday handed over by customs to the Natural History Museum in Aix-en-Provence, which intends to research and display them, Al Jazeera reported.

"I am horrified to think that our closest relatives, the great apes, are being decimated and the rainforest is being stripped of its threatened biodiversity because of something that is both stupid and scandalous," said the museum's ape expert, Professor Sabrina Crieff.

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