News / World

Poachers kill rhino and remove its horn at French zoo

A zoo spokesperson said the gruesome crime was a "job for professionals."

A screenshot taken from video shows Vince on the day he arrived at his new home in the Thoiry wildlife park in France. That's where he was shot dead by poachers this week.

YouTube/Parc Zooloqique de Thoiry

A screenshot taken from video shows Vince on the day he arrived at his new home in the Thoiry wildlife park in France. That's where he was shot dead by poachers this week.

A French zoo is in mourning after poachers broke into the facility to kill a resident rhino for its horns.

Keepers at the zoo in Thoiry found the body of a four-year-old white rhinoceros named Vince in his enclosure Tuesday morning. The animal had been shot in the head and one of his horns was removed.

Zoo officials said it was likely the poachers left the second horn behind because of an equipment failure or they were interrupted during the “massacre.”

“Vince was found this morning by the keeper who was very attached to him and is deeply upset,” the post read. “This odious act was carried out even though there were five staff members living on site and security cameras.”

The poachers forced their way into the enclosure through a vent near the rear entrance. From there, two locked doors stood between the poachers and the rhinos. Those doors were also forced open.

Vince was born at a Dutch zoo in 2012 and had been living in his Thoiry enclosure since 2015. Two older rhinos that share his enclosure were unharmed during the crime.

White rhinos are considered an “extremely threatened” species and are often targeted by poachers for their horns, which fetch a high price on the black market. However, this is the first time poachers were able to kill an animal in a European zoo.

“Animal parks throughout Europe have been put on alert to look out,” said the zoo’s Paul de La Panouse. “To get into these places, (poachers) have to climb 3.5-metre fences, go through padlocked doors. It’s not easy to kill a rhino weighing several tonnes just like that.

“It’s a job for professionals.”

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