French zoo steps up rhino surveillance against poachers

Nov 08, 2011
A French zoo has placed its white rhinos under video surveillance fearing poachers could kill them for their horns which can fetch hundreds of thousands of euros on the black market.

A French zoo has placed its white rhinos under video surveillance fearing poachers could kill them for their horns which can fetch hundreds of thousands of euros on the black market.

The owner of the Thoiry zoo and wildlife park west of Paris took the measure following a spate of rhino horn thefts from zoos and museums around Europe, broadening already in place for small primates.

"We have extended the surveillance that we initiated for our small monkeys, which were regularly stolen and sold illegally, to the white that weigh 2.5 tonnes," zoo owner Paul de la Panouse told AFP.

"Their enclosures are under surveillance by cameras and staff who make regular rounds."

Rhinos are often poached for their horns, made of keratin and sold on the black market for ornamental or medicinal purposes, particularly in Asia.

Horns can fetch between 25,000 and 200,000 euros depending on their size.

Panouse said that thieves had already stolen rhino horns that had been on display for educational purposes from the Sigean wildlife park in the south west of the country.

"Today I'm worried for the living rhinos," Panouse said.

"It's absurd to kill these animals for their horns that some people think might treat illnesses like cancer or impotence," he said.

"The horn is only made of a mass of hair and eating it is the same as eating your nails."

Europol, the European Union's criminal , suspects an Irish organised crime group is behind the spate of robberies that has hit European zoos, auction houses, antique dealers and private collectors.

Trade in rhino horns is banned under the CITES international agreement, the 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of and Flora.

Explore further: Next-door leopards: First GPS-collar study reveals how leopards live with people

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hornless rhino carcasses found in S.Africa

Nov 19, 2010

South African wildlife officials have found 18 rhino carcasses dumped by poachers in a remote area with their horns removed, a spokesman for the northern province of Limpopo said Friday.

South Africa rhino poaching hits record: WWF

Nov 03, 2011

Rhino poaching in South Africa has hit a new record high, with 341 of the animals lost to poachers so far this year as black-market demand for rhino horn soars, wildlife group WWF said Thursday.

Endangered rhinos return to wild

Dec 11, 2009

A Czech zoo is to transfer four endangered Northern White rhinos to a Kenyan reserve in a last-ditch attempt to ensure the survival of the species.

Recommended for you

Laser scanning accurately 'weighs' trees

Nov 21, 2014

A terrestrial laser scanning technique that allows the structure of vegetation to be 3D-mapped to the millimetre is more accurate in determining the biomass of trees and carbon stocks in forests than current ...

Cameras detect 'extinct' wallabies near Broome

Nov 21, 2014

Yawuru Country Managers have found a spectacled hare wallaby (Lagorchestes conspicillatus) population, a species which for the last decade was feared to be locally extinct at Roebuck Plains, adjacent to Broome.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.