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Poachers Kill Rhino for Prized Horn Inside French Zoo

Poachers broke into a French zoo and fatally shot a rhinoceros before using a chain saw to remove its horn, authorities said Tuesday.

The culprits entered the Thoiry Zoo and shot a rhino named Vince three times in the head, the attraction's director Thierry Duguet told The Associated Press.

Rare White Rhino Shot Dead at Paris Zoo 0:48

Zookeepers discovered the five-year-old's carcass in the rhinoceros' enclosure.

Duguet said police were investigating and confirmed that no arrests had been made by Tuesday.

African rhinos are under increasing threat from poachers because of the illegal trade in their horns. Demand is driven by the use of rhino horns in traditional Asian medicine — they are said to cure everything from hangovers to cancer and is even believed to have aphrodisiac powers.

A rhino horn can reportedly fetch up to $42,000 on the black market.

The demand has led to a huge spike in poaching. In South Africa, the number of rhinos poached jumped from 13 in 2007 to 1,215 in 2014, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The Thoiry Zoo is located around 30 miles outside of Paris. It is renowned for its safari park that can only be accessed from inside a car.

Image: The rhinoceros Vince
Vince the rhinoceros in 2015. Domaine de Thoiry via AP