A poor, sweet angel, Vince the white rhino, has been cruelly murdered by two poachers overnight in a zoo near Paris.
Officials are saying either one or more poachers broke through a fence and several doors, including one made of metal, to shoot the four-year-old rhino and then saw off one his horns.
Thierry Duguet, the head of the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry, expressed his “extreme shock” to a local radio station.
“There has never been a case like this in a zoo in Europe, an assault of such violence, evidently for this stupid trafficking of rhinoceros horns,” Mr. Duguet said.
“His second horn was only partially sawed, which suggests the criminals were interrupted or that their tools were faulty,” the park said. “This odious act was perpetrated despite the presence of five members of the zoological staff who live on site and surveillance cameras.”
Vince was born in Arnhem in the Netherlands and was brought along with Bruno, five, to Thoiry in 2015. The pair shared their pen with 37-year-old Gracie; the other two white rhinos survived the massacre.
Our hearts especially break for Vince’s handler, who the zoo said was “very attached to the animal she cares for, and is deeply affected”.
The attack on the park, which is about 50km west of the city, is unprecedented in Europe – normally ivory horns are procured from auction houses and museums, making this the first time a living animal has been killed in Europe by poachers.
A representative of the French gendarmerie, the national police force that patrols small towns and rural areas, told Agence France-Presse that the stolen horn would receive between 30,000 and 40,000 euros, or about $41,800 to $55,500, on the black market.
The French environment minister, Ségolène Royal, signed a decree banning the trade in ivory and rhino horn in France, and all overseas French territories, in August last year and she deemed Vince’s death a “criminal slaughter”.
Author: Jasmine Amber
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