Poachers broke into a Paris zoo on Monday, March 6, and shot a 4-year-old rhinoceros three times in the head, the Associated Press reports. Zookeepers found his carcass on Tuesday morning.
Thoiry Zoo director Thierry Duguet told the AP that the assailants stole the animal’s horn. The second horn was partly cut, “which suggests that the criminals were disturbed or that their equipment proved defective.”
The rhino, named Vince, came to Paris from a Dutch zoo in 2015. According to the World Wildlife Fund, white rhinos are usually active in the early morning, late afternoon and evening and can live up to 40 years.
“It is extremely shocking what just happened,” Duguet told France’s 20 Minutes newspaper. “An act of such violence, never been seen in Europe.”
The Le Parisien newspaper, via the AP, speculated that the horns were stolen to be sold on the black market. Rhinoceros horns can reportedly be sold for up to 40,000 euros.
According to the zoo’s Facebook page, Vince was one of three white rhinos kept in the facility. The other rhinos, 37-year-old Gracie and 5-year-old Bruno, were not harmed in the attack.
The Thoiry Zoo told ABC News that surveillance footage was given to authorities. Police are still investigating the situation and the suspects remain at large.
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