The demand for rhino horns in Southeast Asia is so insatiable that any living rhino in the world is at risk of being killed for them. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened at France’s Parc Zoologique de Thoiry, where a 4-year-old white rhino named Vince was murdered in his enclosure.
Police told Reuters that Vince was shot three times in the head, and his large horn was removed by what was most likely a chainsaw.
"It is extremely shocking what just happened," zoo director Thierry Duguet told France's 20 Minutes newspaper.
The only good news was that two other white rhinoceros at the zoo were able to avoid slaughter. 37-year-old Grace and 5-year-old Bruno were unharmed. But that may have only been because the thieves ran out of time or their equipment broke down, as evidenced by the fact that Vince’s smaller horn was only partially removed.
Merci à La crèche de Thoiry pour ce magnifique dessin en hommage à Vince ! pic.twitter.com/gMukxC8ehU— Parc de Thoiry (@zoothoiry) March 9, 2017
According to the zoo, a kilogram of rhino horn is worth around $54,000 on the black market. Even with security cameras and staff on site, Vince was a living, breathing bank to these robbers.
The horns are seen as a status symbol and a miracle drug, but aside from the life they’re attached to, the horns are really nothing special. They’re made of keratin, the same protein that makes up our hair and fingernails. Watch the video to see how such a thing could happen.