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Rhino killed by poachers at French zoo

A rhinoceros in Kruger National Park, South Africa, March 2015.
A rhinoceros in Kruger National Park, South Africa, March 2015. AFP/Stefan Heunis

The white rhino was shot three times in the head and had his horns sawn off, Thoiry Zoo announced on Tuesday.


The perpetrators broke into the zoo, located just outside Paris, and killed four-year-old Vince in his enclosure on Monday night. The other two rhinos in the enclosure were unharmed.

A police spokeswoman told AFP that “only the main horn was stolen”. The poachers had tried to saw off the rhino’s second horn, but seemed to have been disturbed in the process, as it was left behind.

“This has never happened before in a zoo, either in France or in Europe,” Thoiry manager Thierry Duguet told AFP.

“We are extremely shocked and upset. This is supposed to be a sanctuary for the animals,” he added.

Although the zoo is equipped with video surveillance, there are no cameras installed in the rhino enclosure.

Ivory worth more than gold

Investigators estimate Vince’s horn is worth more than 30,000 euros.

Rhino horn can fetch more on the black market than gold or cocaine, as it sells for up to $60,000 per kilo.

Global demand for rhino horn mostly comes from China and Vietnam, where it is considered to have medicinal properties.

AFP reports that in the last eight years alone, roughly a quarter of the world’s rhino population has been killed in South Africa, one of the countries with the largest rhino population.

Last year France banned the trade of ivory and horns.

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