Chainsaw thief hacks off Louis XIV elephant’s tusk
An intruder in the Paris Natural History Museum who sawed off a tusk of a skeleton of an African elephant given to French King Louis XIV was apprehended early on Saturday, according to French authorities.
The suspect, about 20 years old, had the tusk in his possession when the police arrested him outside the museum as he tried to flee the premises.
The vandalism occurred early Saturday in the palaeontology section of the historic Paris Natural History Museum after the man managed to enter the building through a window.
“The elephant that was damaged was given to Louis XIV as a present by the king of Portugal in 1668,” Jacques Cuisin, head of restoration at the museum, told reporters over the weekend. “He was cutting the tusk with a chainsaw until the tusk actually fell. The noise from the security alarm was so unbearable that he left,” explained Cuisin.
The animal’s tusks are not the original ones, but were added to the skeleton in the 19th century.
According to Cuisin, the three-kilogram tusk did not have great monetary value, but it did have major historic and scientific value.
Despite the shocking act of vandalism, museum officials assured reporters that the tusk could be easily repaired.
Spate of attacks on museum rhinos and elephants
Hours after the incident, the museum opened to visitors at regular hours – although the vandalised elephant skeleton was shrouded in a white covering.