Heartless poachers kill pregnant rhino and her young calf for their horns

A heavily pregnant rhino and her young calf were shot dead by heartless poachers in a South African National Park on Wednesday. Heartbreaking photos of the unborn calf, the mother and the sibling were posted on the Facebook page of the Pilanesberg National Park Wildlife Trust in Mogwase.

The disturbing photos showed the poachers had started to hack off the mother’s horn, but the murderers fled when interrupted by park rangers before they completed their despicable task. Tragically when the staff arrived, even though they tried to save the unborn calf, it had died inside of its mother’s womb.

“Mom and calf shot and killed by poachers. Horns are still on as the murderers fled the scene when they heard a game drive approach. Mom looks very pregnant as well. We are devastated,” the group posted.

According to the Daily Mail,  the mother rhino was eight-years-old and her calf just two-years of age. The unborn calf was due to be born in February. The problem of poachers is so profound that a spokesperson reported 17 rhinos and three unborn calves were killed in 2017 alone. In the last ten years, more than 6,000 rhinos have been shot and butchered in South Africa for their horns. At times the rhinos are shot and killed, but there continues despicable reports of poachers using tranquilizer guns to bring down the animals and then hacking off the horn – leaving the animal to wake up and painfully and slowly bleed to death.

So what’s the big deal about rhino horns? China, Vietnam, South Korean, India and Malaysia believe the horns have medicinal value able to cure anything from sexual impotence to curing cancer. There has been no evidence to support any of the claims. The horns of a rhino are made from keratin – the same as our fingernails, horses’ hooves and bird and turtle beaks, Somehow the cultural Asian traditions have not waned – now leaving less that 20,000 white rhino left in their natural habitats.

The payoff is why this egregious slaughter continues. A kilo of rhino horn can bring in $30,000 – valued at this time at more than a kilo of gold.

Rest in peace wild animals. We are so sorry that man is so greedy and cruel.

(Photos and video  courtesy of Pilanesberg National Park and Wildlife Trust)

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Poachers break into Paris zoo, shoot rhino and saw off its horn

A four-year-old male rhinoceros was found dead on Tuesday morning at the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry; he had been shot three times in the head by poachers, and his horn had been chopped off. This is believed to be the first incident of poaching from a zoo animal in Europe. A press release on the zoo’s Facebook page described the disturbing and heartbreaking discovery:

“In the night of Monday, 6 March, to Tuesday, 7 March 2017 of the perps broke into in the field of Thoiry (50 miles west of Paris) despite the security measures put in place and killed one of the three white rhino in order to seize the One of his horns. The whole staff is extremely shocked. A survey of gendarmerie investigation in the early hours of the morning. The direction of the domaine de thoiry’s gonna file a complaint.” (translation)Rhino killed at paris zoo 2

The white rhinoceros, named Vince, is believed to have been attacked by at least two poachers in a protected clearing where two other rhinos lived. Vince’s second horn had been partially hacked away as if the criminals ran out of time and had to run away. Zoo personnel and authorities believe the poachers had intended to kill the other rhinos also –  Bruno, 5, and Gracie 37; both animals are said to be safe.

According to the website for the Thoiry Zoo, Vince came from the Netherlands where he was born in 2012. In 2015, Bruno and Vince arrived at the zoo. There are about 21,000 white rhinos in the world  living in the wild; mainly in South Africa and Uganda, but the species is hugely under threat from poaching, reports the Evening Standard. The white rhino is particularly vulnerable, because it is generally very passive in nature and has poor eye-sight.

Rhino horns are highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where they are ground into a fine powder or turned into tablets to be used as a treatment for a variety of diseases; especially as a sexual enhancing potent. Local authorities state rhino horns can bring up to $41,000 on the black market.

The outrage on social media about the killing of Vince has gone viral. Such comments as:

Alexandre Lemerle wrote: “We’re in France but people can still kill rhinos for their horns…”

Jerome Leheutre posted: “New proof of human greed! A rhinoceros has been slaughtered and his horn severed at Thoiry zoo.”

Morgane L. wrote: “A bunch of a******s broke into Thoiry and killed a rhino to cut his horn off. I’m losing faith in humanity…..”

Rest in peace Vince. We do hope you get some justice. This kind of cruelty is unforgivable.

(Photos of Vince the rhino shot by poachers via the Thoiry Zoo Facebook page)

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