Poachers broke into a wildlife preserve, the Thoiry Zoo, in the suburbs of Paris and sawed off one of the rhino’s horns and killed him.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 7, 2017
“They shot dead Vince, a 4-year-old male, to cut one of its horns, probably with a chainsaw,” the preserves Facebook page said. “Its second horn was partially cut, which left the impression that the criminals were disturbed or that their equipment was defective.”
Two of the three white rhinos in the zoo were able to avoid the massacre and are not harmed.
Of the five rhino species in existence, all are currently on the endangered species list. These animals are often victims of poaching because some believe their horns have medicinal properties.
France had outlawed trade in ivory and horns last year, but these products can still be sold on the black market for thousands of dollars.
The Thoiry Zoo has handed over all surveillance footage to investigators in hopes of catching these poachers.
“Animal parks throughout Europe have been put on alert to look out… to get into these places they have to climb 3.5 meter fences, go through padlocked doors. It’s not easy to kill a rhino weighing several tons just like that. It’s a job for professionals” says Paul de La Panouse, former historic director of the African enclosure at Thoiry zoo.