Poachers kill young white rhino within French zoo for its horn.
In one of the most brazen wildlife crimes ever, poachers struck a French zoo, to kill a white rhino and saw off its horn.
The culprits broke into Thoiry Zoological Park on Monday night, entering in spite of security measures according to a post by the zoo on Facebook. They then shot one of four white rhinos living in the zoo’s African plains exhibit.
The poached rhino was a four-year-old male named Vince. The young rhino was originally born in a zoo in the Netherlands before going to Thoiry in 2015. The zoo believes the poachers used a chainsaw when they sawed off the rhino’s horn.
The poachers may have had issues with their saw or were interrupted in their crime, because the rhino’s second horn was only partially cut.
The release further states the crime happened in spite of surveillance cameras and staff members who actually live on the grounds. Vince was discovered dead by a caretaker.
One would think a zoo would be the safest place for one of the rarest animals in the world. But now zoos and wildlife officials have new reasons to be concerned as the poaching is believed to be the first of its kind to take place in a zoo.
“It’s an incredibly shocking and distressing occurrence,” Crawford Allan, TRAFFIC North America’s senior director told the Washington Post. His office is part of the World Wildlife Fund.
“It’s also a game-changer for zoos,” Allan said. “They’ve woken up today and realized their world has changed if they have live rhinos in their collection.”
Unfortunately, the black market for rhino horns has made white rhino poaching much more prevalent in South Africa. The zoo reports just 1 kg of rhino horn was sold on the black market for 51,000 euros ($53,787) in 2015.
It’s especially distressing for the zoo since Vince was a member of an extremely threatened subspecies that has already neared extinction once. The zoo noted the rhino’s caretaker was extremely attached to the animal.
We’ll keep an eye on this story and bring you more if and when the poachers responsible are captured.