4-year-old rhino was shot in head three times.
PARIS — A zoo director says a 4-year-old rhinoceros at the wildlife park he runs near Paris has been shot three times in the head by assailants who stole the animal's horn.
Thierry Duguet told The Associated Press that poachers broke into the Thoiry Zoo overnight and used a chain saw to remove the horn from the rhino named Vince. Zookeepers discovered his carcass Tuesday in the rhinoceros' enclosure.
Duguet said that Vince was shot three times in the head. The poachers likely used a chainsaw to cut off one of the horns, according to a statement from the zoo, which is nearly 40 miles west of Paris. It added that "his second horn was only partially cut, which suggests that the criminals were disturbed or that their equipment proved defective."
Duguet says police are investigating and the suspects still are at large.
The zoo confirmed that its two other white rhinos — 37-year-old Gracie and 5-year-old Bruno — "escaped the massacre and are safe and sound," according to NPR.
"Vince was found this morning by his caretaker, who, being very attached to the animals she cares for, is deeply affected," the zoo wrote. "This odious act was perpetrated despite the presence of five members of the zoo staff living on site and surveillance cameras."
The Thoiry Zoo is famous for its safari park that can only be explored from inside a vehicle.
According to Le Parisien newspaper, a rhinoceros horn can be sold for up to $54,000 (U.S.) on the black market because of a strong demand linked to the belief that the horns have aphrodisiac powers.