Europe Just Experienced a Horrible First at One of Its Zoos

Vince the rhino, killed for his horn, is first live animal to be poached at a zoo
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2017 2:21 PM CST
Vince the Rhino Massacred in French Zoo for His Ivory: Cops
This undated photo provided Tuesday by the Thoiry Zoo shows Vince, center, at the zoo, west of Paris.   (Domaine de Thoiry via AP)

In what authorities say is a brazen first, poachers busted into an EU zoo and attacked a live animal. NBC News reports on the slaying of Vince, a rhinoceros who was found dead in his enclosure Tuesday morning by his keepers after perps broke into France's Thoiry Zoo overnight, put three bullets into the animal's head, then chainsawed his horn off, presumably to sell on the black market, the zoo's director tells the AP. Vince was a 4-year-old African rhino, a species that's seen a record decline in numbers of late due to poachers, per the World Wildlife Fund.

Hacking marks on Vince's second horn suggest the suspect or suspects tried to cut off that one as well; they may not have had time to finish the job, or the tools they were using may not have worked on that horn. The Independent reports that rhino horns can command more than $35,000 when sold underground. "The whole staff is extremely shocked," the zoo wrote in a Tuesday morning Facebook post, which adds that the other two rhinos in the enclosure, 37-year-old Gracie and 5-year-old Bruno, "escaped the massacre." (One of the world's last "big tusker" elephants was killed this week.)

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