Tuesday, 7 March 2017

FRANCE: Poachers Near Paris kill Rhino And Cut Off Horn At Zoo

Poachers have killed a rhino for its horn after breaking into a zoo near Paris.

The unknown assailants killed a 5-year-old rhino on Monday night at the Thoiry zoo in the department of Yvelines, to the west of Paris.

The animal was shot in the head three times and had its horn removed, probably with a chainsaw, said a source close to the case.

It's the first time in Europe that poachers have attacked a living animal in a zoo.

The thieves broke into the wildlife park by breaking through a back fence.

The zoo director said the team was in mourning.

"It's a real shock, it's unbelievable to see this on a site like ours," he said.

The rhino had lived in the enclosure since 2015, with another two rhinos that were left unscathed in the attack.

"It's possible that the thieves didn't have time to attack the other animals," a source said

A rhino's horn can fetch up to €40,000 on the black market, with the Chinese believing that it can act as an aphrodisiac.

International trade in rhino horn has been banned since 1993, but thieves have realized that, in Europe at least, museums are a quick way to snag some ivory.

A spike in museum thefts around five years ago in France saw increased security measures, although brazen thieves went as far as to gas guards at a Paris museum to pilfer a rhino horn.