French zoo steps up rhino surveillance against poachers

November 8, 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: Endangered rhinos return to wild

Related Stories

Endangered rhinos return to wild

December 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.

Hornless rhino carcasses found in S.Africa

November 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

November 3, 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.

Recommended for you

Ancient walnut forests linked to languages, trade routes

September 4, 2015

If Persian walnut trees could talk, they might tell of the numerous traders who moved along the Silk Roads' thousands of miles over thousands of years, carrying among their valuable merchandise the seeds that would turn into ...

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'

September 3, 2015

Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group. In a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology, ...

Fighting explosives pollution with plants

September 3, 2015

Biologists at the University of York have taken an important step in making it possible to clean millions of hectares of land contaminated by explosives.

0 comments

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.