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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Are Zoos protective ~ Rhino shot dead inside Thoiry zoo

Rhinos are attractive ~ some say they are on the brink of extinction !the  white rhino is a major conservation success story, having been brought back from the very brink of extinction. But the current surge in poaching for their horns, particularly in South Africa, has seen record numbers killed in recent years. Urgent efforts are now underway to stop the poaching and end the illegal trade.  Poaching threatens the existence of many animals ! – it is human greed.

Children are gleeful when they  see wild animals ! – villagers  are happy visiting Zoos, may not be the same with city man, who is addicted to gadgets and perhaps would be interested in playing Zoo game rather than see them.  The sprawling Vandalur attracts many visitors – and many were disappointed as it remained closed during Pongal, having not recovered from the devastation of Cyclone Vardah.  While the purpose of Zoo is different, the animals do face different types of trouble from the visitors ! – and also because they are kept as exhibits, in not so natural surroundings !  ~ but this is sad ! and not expected to happen at a so called protected environment is the subject matter of this post.

Away at El Salvador, the gruesome killing of Gustavito, an adored hippo, attacked and badly mauled with metal bars and knives shocked even the Nation, where killings are so high.  Close on its heels, came the news of a  group of visitors at a Tunisia zoo stoning a crocodile to death. The municipality of Tunis posted gory pictures on Facebook of the dead animal’s head next to what appeared to be a bloodied paving slab and another large rock. “A group of visitors to the zoo threw stones at the head of a crocodile, causing internal haemorrhage that killed it,” it said. The municipality said the act at the Belvedere Zoo in central Tunis was “savage behaviour”.

The Château of Thoiry is a 150-hectare (370-acre) castle, zoo and botanical garden that was opened to the public in 1965 in the village of Thoiry, France, with gardens and a zoological park. Located about 30 miles (48 km) due west of Paris, it is best visited by automobile to take advantage of the drive-through lane.  It has assorted range of animals, many of which  roam freely along an 8-kilometre (5.0 mi) road through the 240-acre (97 ha) "African Reserve". Others can be viewed in a walk-through zoo. Animals in the reserve include Przewalski's horse, bears, European and American bison, wildebeest, greater and lesser kudu, dromedary camels, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, eland, Watusi cattle, and three elephants..

One rhino roaming there was less fortunate.  It is reported that poachers forced their way into the  French zoo and killed a southern white rhinoceros named Vince, sawing off one of his horns before fleeing into the night. The Thoiry Zoo said police are investigating the killing of the 4-year-old animal. The poachers remain at large.
"It is extremely shocking what just happened," zoo director Thierry Duguet told France's 20 Minutes newspaper. "An act of such violence, never before seen in Europe. "Duguet told The Associated Press 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; "his second horn was only partially cut, which suggests that the criminals were disturbed or that their equipment proved defective."

This odious act was perpetrated despite the presence of five members of the zoo staff living on site and surveillance cameras. Despite bans by international convention and French law, the illegal sale of rhino horns persists because of demand for use in traditional Asian medicine. A kilogram of rhino horn sold on the black market for nearly $54,000 in 2015, according to the zoo.Southern white rhinos like Vince were nearly extinct in the late 19th century, according to the WWF. Protection efforts were largely successful, with some 20,000 animals in protected areas and private game reserves — in fact, they're the "only rhinos that are not endangered."But there's been a major uptick in poaching. "Hundreds of white rhinos have been killed annually in recent years," the WWF says. "They are particularly vulnerable to hunting, because they are relatively unaggressive."

Vince was born at a zoo in the Netherlands, and had been living at Thoiry Zoo since 2015. In the aftermath of the attack, Thoiry is warning other European zoos. A spokesperson said - It's not easy to kill a rhino weighing several tonnes just like that. It's a job for professionals."

Sad that an animal sought to be seen in an protective environment was poached amidst disturbing reports that the criminals had also planned to steal the horns of the two other white rhinos, five-year-old Bruno and 37-year-old Gracie. Both animals are said to be safe and healthy.  While many communicated their anguish on the gruesome killing, some commented it to be the price of inviting immigrants in to Societies, feeding them, allowing them to bring their habits with them.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Apr 2017.

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