Rhino Shot Dead by poachers at French Zoo
Rhino Shot Dead by poachers at French Zoo –
Horn removed from four-year-old Vince in ‘act of extreme violence’, says park director
Poachers have broken into a French zoo, killing a four-year-old white rhinoceros and sawing off its horn.
Keepers found the dead animal, named Vince, in the African enclosure of the zoo at Thoiry, west of Paris, on Tuesday morning. It had been shot in the head and its large horn removed with a chainsaw.
The poachers fled before they could remove the animal’s second horn, either because they were disturbed or because their equipment failed, police said.
Authorities described the incident as the first of its kind in Europe.
The poachers forced a grill at the rear entrance to the zoo, near the rhinoceros enclosure. They then broke through two further locked doors into the building containing three white rhino on Monday night.
“It’s possible the thieves didn’t have time to take the others,” a police spokesman said.
Park director Thierry Duguet said the attack was “unbelievable” and that Vince had been one of the most popular attractions at the zoo.
“It’s extremely shocking,” Duguet told 20 Minutes newspaper. “An act of such extreme violence has never happened before in Europe.”
Vince, born at Burgers’ zoo in Arnhem in the Netherlands at the end of 2012, arrived at Thoiry zoo in March 2015. The zoo said he belonged to a subspecies of southern white rhinoceros that is “extremely threatened”.
The zoo announced the news on its Facebook page. It said the two other rhinos in the enclosure, Gracie, 37, and Bruno, five, had “escaped the massacre” and were unharmed.
A rhinoceros horn has an estimated value of between €30,000 and €40,000. Detectives say there is an established trade network in illegally poached horn between France and Asia.
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