Poachers shoot and kill a rhino ... at the zoo

Vince, a four-year-old white rhinoceros, was found bloodied and mutilated on Tuesday morning by keepers at Thoiry Zoo, some 30 miles west of Paris.

Sudan, the last male Northern white rhinoceros who lives at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, has an armed security detail, and has had part of his horn removed to deter poachers.

The poachers apparently tried to saw off Vince's second horn, but stopped. Demand is driven by the use of rhino horns in traditional Asian medicine - it is said to cure everything from hangovers to cancer and is even believed to have aphrodisiac powers.

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Zoo director Thierry Duguet said that poachers had broken into the sanctuary overnight, before shooting Vince the rhinoceros three times in the head.

It's possible the thieves attempted to attack other animals, but did not have time, a source with knowledge of the case told La Parisien.

Rhino horns can be sold on the black market for about 40,000 euros, or about $42,000, according to The Associated Press, citing the French-language newspaper Le Parisien. Protection efforts were largely successful, with some 20,000 animals in protected areas and private game reserves - in fact, they're the "only rhinos that are not endangered".

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Vince came to the Thoiry Zoo in 2015 and was very popular with visitors. "Hundreds of white rhinos have been killed annually in recent years", the WWF says.

Thoiry zoo described the attack as a "heinous act" on its Facebook page. "It's a job for professionals".

Although a United Nations convention prohibits the global trade of horns and tusks, they are still in high demand, particularly in China and other Asian countries where rhino horn - typically consumed in powdered form - is claimed to have aphrodisiac and medicinal properties.

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