In today’s edition of “Reasons Why the Human Species Sucks,” poachers broke into a French zoo to slaughter a rhinoceros and steal its horn. Vince, a 4-year-old white rhino, was found dead by his keeper at Thoiry Zoological Park Tuesday morning with three bullets in his head and his horn sawed off. According to experts, Vince’s death likely marks the first time a rhino has been killed inside a zoo. It’s a tragedy with frightening implications: No living rhino, not even one held in the strictest captivity, can now claim immunity from the black-market demand for its horn, which is keenly sought after in Asia for its alleged aphrodisiac qualities.
“This is the first time we’ve heard of it,” Crawford Allan, senior director of Traffic, a partner of the World Wildlife Fund told the Washington Post. “It’s certainly the first time it’s happened in Europe.
The incident, beyond causing a great deal of shock and distress, is also a “game changer” for zoos, Allan added. “They’ve woken up today and realized their world has changed if they have live rhinos in their collection,” he said.
The poachers, the zoo said, forced open an outer gate outside the rhino building the previous night. They then cracked open a second door before breaking open “an intermediate inner door” that led to the animal lodges.
Vince was housed with two other rhinos: Gracie, aged 37, and Bruno, aged 5. Both are reportedly safe and healthy. Vince’s second horn was only partway cut, suggesting that the criminals were either disturbed or they experienced an equipment malfunction.
“Vince was found this morning by [his] caretaker, who is very attached to the animals she cares for, and is deeply affected,” the zoo said. “This odious act was perpetrated despite the presence of five members of the zoological staff living on the spot and surveillance cameras.”
Via the Washington Post