Poachers broke into a French zoo, shot dead a rare white rhinoceros and sawed off its horn in what is believed to be the first time in Europe that a rhino in captivity has been attacked and killed. Nathan Frandino reports.
Gracie and Bruno - white rhinos at the Thoiry Zoo and Wildlife Park in Paris, are lucky to be alive. Their four-year old companion Vince, was shot and killed by poachers who broke in overnight... Police say Vince was found dead in his enclosure with three gunshot wounds to his head and one of his horns missing. Zoo director Thierry Duguet says Vince's second horn was partially cut. He says the intruders may have been scared off or their equipment failed. (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF THOIRY ZOO, THIERRY DUGUET, SAYING: "An investigation will be carried out because it's so unusual. It's never happened in France or in Europe so we're talking about something that's horribly new." Global trade in rhino horn is banned by the U.N. and its sale is illegal in France. But demand is strong in Asia and horns are worth nearly $54,000 a kilo. Duguet says the zoo is watched by surveillance cameras and five staff members live on site. But it wasn't enough to stop the poachers.. (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF THOIRY ZOO, THIERRY DUGUET, SAYING: "We'd never have guessed that in a zoo, in a zoo in Europe, that poachers could come and do this. It's unimaginable." An unimaginable crime that Duguet hopes will be solved before the poachers can strike again.