Rare White Rhino Killed For Coveted Horn At French Zoo

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A Four-year-old white rhino named Vince was discovered lifeless on the Thoiry Zoo in France on Tuesday morning (March 7).

Credit score: Arthus Boutin/Domaine de Thoiry

A Four-year-old white rhinoceros who was inside an enclosure in a French zoo has been killed for his horn.

“Vince,” a younger rhino on the Thoiry Zoo, was discovered shot within the head, and one massive horn had been sawed off by a chainsaw, based on the Guardian. The animal’s second, smaller horn was minimize however not absolutely eliminated, which means that the poachers left in a rush, police informed reporters.

That is the primary recognized poaching incident of a rhinoceros at a zoo, mentioned CeCe Sieffert, the deputy director of the Worldwide Rhino Basis. [In Photos: The Last 5 Northern White Rhinos]

“I used to be a bit shocked, however on the similar time, it kind of looks as if the subsequent step within the disaster,” Sieffert informed Stay Science. “The rhino-poaching disaster has been happening for years. It has been escalating for years. And I feel we have now hit this level the place they’re concentrating on animals in zoos.”

The “they” Sieffert referred to signifies not opportunists or amateurs, however professionals.

“Poaching is a felony exercise run by extremely organized and complicated felony networks,” Susie Ellis, the manager director of the Worldwide Rhino Basis, mentioned in an announcement.

The principle marketplace for rhino horn is in China and Vietnam, Sieffert mentioned. Consumers covet the horn for its fully legendary medicinal properties. (In reality, rhino horn is simply keratin, the identical stuff that makes up fingernails and hair.) Some additionally covet rhino horn for standing, Sieffert mentioned, and purchase it as a show of wealth. As the worth of rhino horn has skyrocketed, so has the motivation to poach rhinos.

“The spike within the worth is de facto driving the poaching disaster,” Sieffert mentioned.

A current report by a global consortium of conservation teams discovered that poaching has been on a stratospheric trajectory. In 2006, there have been 60 confirmed poaching incidents in Africa. By 2015, not less than 1,342 rhinos — together with the white and black species of the animal — had been killed in Africa in a single 12 months.

This poaching disaster is additional jeopardizing a species that’s already endangered. White rhinoceroses, just like the Thoiry Zoo’s Vince, got here near the brink of extinction earlier than conservation efforts boosted their numbers: As of 2015, about 20,000 of the northern white rhino subspecies (Ceratotherium simum simum) had been residing in Africa, based on the identical worldwide report. The intently associated southern white rhino subspecies (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) has solely three residing members, all of whom reside below safety on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Efforts are underway to develop in vitro fertilization procedures to maintain the northern subspecies alive.

The 4 different rhino species are dealing with severe challenges, nonetheless. The black rhino (Diceros bicornis) is critically endangered, with round 5,042 to five,455 people left within the wild, based on the Worldwide Rhino Basis. That is down from about 65,000 in 1970. The better one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), which is present in India and Nepal, is listed as susceptible; there are about three,600 within the wild. The critically endangered Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) went extinct in Malaysia in 2015, and fewer than 100 nonetheless survive in Indonesia. The Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), additionally critically endangered, is now discovered solely in Ujung Kulon Nationwide Park on the island of Java in Indonesia. About 60 of those solitary animals survive. 

The Thoiry Zoo assault shouldn’t be the one instance of brazen makes an attempt on the lives of rhinos. Simply final month, two armed males stormed a rhino orphanage known as Thula Thula in South Africa, holding the workers hostage and killing two child rhinos that had beforehand been orphaned by poaching.  

Unique article on Stay Science. 


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