Vince the White Rhino Shot Dead, His Horn Sawn Off

On March 6, poachers forced their way into Thoiry Zoo, 40 miles west of Paris, France, shot and killed a southern white rhinoceros named Vince and sawed off one of his horns, before disappearing into the night. The poachers are still at large, and animal parks across Europe are on high alert.

Park officials are horrified.

“It is extremely shocking what just happened,” zoo director Thierry Duguet told France’s 20 Minutes newspaper. It appears that Vince was shot three times in the head. According to a statement released by the zoo on Facebook, the poachers probably used a chainsaw to cut off one of the horns. The second horn was only partially cut, suggesting that the perpetrators of this horrible act were disturbed or their tools were defective.

The zoo’s two other white rhinos, 37-year-old Gracie and five-year-old Bruno, “escaped the massacre,” the Thoiry Zoo revealed.

Bruno and Vince arrived at the zoo together in 2015. Vince, who was born in a zoo in the Netherlands, was one of 250 rhinos in European zoos who were part of a breeding program.


Photo Credit: Screenshot from online BBC video

Killing For Profit

“We are grieving. It’s a terrible shock,” Paul de La Panouse, former historic director of the African enclosure at Thoiry zoo told French journalists.

“Animal parks throughout Europe have been put on alert to look out… to get into these places they have to climb 3.5 metre fences, go through padlocked doors. It’s not easy to kill a rhino weighing several tonnes just like that. It’s a job for professionals.”

These criminals carried out their barbaric act strictly for profit: A rhinoceros horn has an estimated value of between $30,000 and $40,000.

That’s because rhinoceros horns are believed to have medicinal value despite being made of keratin, the same protein our hair and fingernails are made of, as well as horses’ hooves and turtle beaks.

So while rhino horns may be valued as trophies, more often they are ground up and used in traditional Asian medicine, particularly in China and increasingly in Vietnam. The powder may be added to food or brewed in a tea in the belief that the horns are a powerful aphrodisiac, a hangover cure, a treatment for fever, rheumatism, gout and even cancer, according to the International Rhino Foundation.

As a result, poaching for the illegal trade in their horns is the greatest threat facing African rhinos, and it increased by over 900 percent over the last 5 years. In 2014, in south Africa, one rhinoceros was killed every 8 hours.

But it’s become worse since then.

According to a 2016 report from the (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG), poaching increased for the sixth year in a row, with at least 1,338 rhinos killed across Africa in 2015. Since 2008, it’s believed that poachers have killed at least 5,940 rhinos to meet the demand for their horns.

Five Species Of Rhinos

Rhinos are adorable creatures, and the humans taking care of four-year-old Vince at Thoiry Zoo were devastated when they discovered that he had been murdered.

Vince was a white rhino, one of five species of rhino. White and black rhinos are native to Africa, while the greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos are native to southeast Asia. The second largest land mammal after the elephant, a rhino can live as long as 40 or 50 years, but are increasingly in danger of being cut down at a much earlier age.

Sumatran rhinos and northern white rhinos are the most endangered, with just three northern white rhinos left in the world today, all living in captivity.

The southern white rhinoceros, however, is an awesome rhino conservation success story. In the early 1900s, there were only about 50 of these left in the wild, but this subspecies of rhino has now increased to between 19,682 and 21,077, making it the most populous of all the rhino species. However the alarming increase in poaching threatens to undo the rhino conservation successes.

Fighting To Combat Poaching

In Zimbabwe last autumn, the authorities announced they would remove the horns of 700 adult rhinoceros to dissuade attacks from poachers. In South Africa, rhinos have been airlifted to secure locations to protect them. Another option being tried is to fit monitoring devices to the rhinos, in order to track their whereabouts.

Sadly, the majority of rhinos are already living in some form of captivity and the fear is that within about a decade, there will be no more rhinos living in the wild.

Meanwhile, donations have been pouring in, to honor the memory of four-year-old Vince.


Photo Credit: Screenshot from online BBC video


bob Petermann
bob Petermann2 months ago

Thanks for the article

Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thanks for posting.

.9 months ago

What security? ... the assholes were most likely in on it ... may karma hunt them and kill everything they love and cherish ...

Jennifer H
Jennifer H10 months ago

Where the hell is all the security? Leave all the animals unattended and exposed... Irresponsible.

Billy Tobin
Billy Tobin10 months ago

fkn arseholes .... they deserve to be eaten


Find them and cut off their privates...because I'm almost sure this was committed by men! What freaking low life pieces of crap! Please find them and punish to the fullest, and beyond, extent of the law!

Stella G
Stella G10 months ago

Bad story! It was hoped that at least in zoos, the animals were at least preserved from poaching, vain hope! Now all shout horror, are warned of the danger other European zoos, and then ....... trust much tougher laws, and punishments.
Thanks, I shared.

heather g
heather g10 months ago

Signed a petition on another site. Unless somebody reports them, they won't be caught. Some audacity!

kathy bonard
kathy bonard10 months ago

So upsetting.Where is the security in this zoo ?It's 2017 ,no excuse or is it money again ?Look after your animals if you are going to make money out of them.

Misss D
Misss D10 months ago

Clare O. Interesting that you assume it was immigrants who killed the rhino, or that it is somehow part of an immigration issue in France. Could you share the information you have that proves this? Thanks