Poachers Kill Rhino for Prized Horn Inside French Zoo

White rhinoceros Gracie (left) and Bruno are seen in their enclosure at Thoiry zoo and wildlife park in France on Tuesday.

Vince was one of only about 20,000 white rhinos in the world.

"His second horn has only been partially cut would indicate that the criminals may have been disturbed or that their equipment turned out to be defective".

Poachers broke into a French zoo and murdered a beloved white rhinoceros, chainsawing its horn off, according to French investigators.

"It's extremely shocking", Duguet said, according to The Guardian.

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Vince was shot three times in the head after they forced their way into the zoo overnight.

On Facebook, the zoo said Vince was found by a "keeper who was very attached to him and is deeply upset".

Thoiry zoo is equipped with video surveillance, but cameras are not installed in the area where the rhinos live.

A rhino's horn can fetch up to €40,000 on the black market, with the Chinese believing that it can act as an aphrodisiac.

Majority live in South Africa, where there have been hundreds of rhinos killed in recent years.

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Vince was born at a zoo in the Netherlands, and had been living at Thoiry Zoo since 2015.

It's believed the poachers broke into the zoo by breaking past an outer gate near the site's "African Plain" area, before breaking two more doors at the rhinoceros enclosure, staff said.

He added: "It's not easy to kill a rhino weighing several tonnes just like that". Scientists say that rhino horn - which is made from the same kind of substance that comprises human fingernails - has no medicinal value.

"The continued assault on Africa's rhinos year after year shows the need to redouble efforts across the rhino horn trade chain", Ginette Hemley, WWF's senior vice president of wildlife conservation, said in a statement.

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