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Rare White Rhino Shot Dead by Poachers in French Zoo, Horn Sawn Off

Mar 08, 2017 06:57 AM EST
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A white rhino was brutally killed by poachers, apparently for its horn in a French zoo. The perpetrators broke into the property and shot dead a rare white rhinoceros. The poor animal was later found dead with its horn sawn off.

This incident is believed to be the first case in Europe especially with a rare white rhino in captivity. Vince, the four-year-old rhino was discovered inside his enclosure at the Thoiry Zoo and Wildlife Park. The park is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Paris.

The rhino was found dead last Tuesday, March 7. Although poachers are the suspects, there are no specific defendants yet. The poor white rhinoceros was shot three times in the head, according to police investigations.

The horns could have been removed using a chainsaw, according to a report by Reuters. Although the U.N. convention banned the rhino horn trade and is blatantly illegal in the UK, poachers are still pursuing the illegal activity due to the price tag. Reports say that a kilo of rhino horn can be sold for about $53,900 in 2015. There's also a demand for rhino horns, especially with affluent Asian countries. The horn is a popular oriental medicine ingredient.

Despite the loss, the zoo is expected to heighten its security after the incident since two more rare rhinos still resided at the zoo. Gracie and Bruno were discovered in their enclosure unharmed. Vince, the deceased rhino, came from the Netherlands and was brought to the zoo in 2012.

"This has never happened before in a zoo, either in France or in Europe," Thierry Duguet, zoo manager said in a statement. "We are extremely shocked and upset - this is supposed to be a sanctuary for the animals,"

There were staff inside the zoo during the incident but were unaware of the break in.

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