French zoo shocked by killing of rhino by poachers

Manhunt underway for poachers who broke into an enclosure and killed a 4-year-old rhino for its large horn, ABC News' Alex Marquardt reports from France.
11:31 | 03/08/17

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Transcript for French zoo shocked by killing of rhino by poachers
Hi I'm Alex McCord ABC news in the twelve reasonable logical park about an hour and a half. Outside of Paris this is. A nature reserve a zoo that is opens the public that people come to from all across France. To take a look at the more than 120 animals that they have. In this park. The park was shocked yesterday morning when I keeper went in to be. The overnight enclosure where it the three white rhinos. Who live here sleep that night and they found one of them a five year old named events. Dead we've just discovered that we just learned rather that he was shot three times. By large caliber bullet and his horn was removed. Officials here the zoo and French authorities believe that it was poachers who broke into. The enclosure. And took the horn off events and then made their escape what's not so clear right now. Is why it all just Vince was killed wide just one of his two horns was taken. The working assumption is that either their equipment failed or they were interrupted. I would ask my here mascot to swing around here. We're about as close as we can get. Sued the two remaining. Rhinos who are unharmed. If I'm getting this writes I believe that is Bruno. On the right who is a five year old male. Who came here win Vince several years ago and on the left is a female named grace. You can see that massive front warned that she has that's about. Eight kilos. Or or sixteen pounds she's in her thirties. Of course the reason that poachers would come here and try to take their horns is. Rhino horns are so valuable is a massive black market trade lots of trafficking. One rhino horn can go for tens of thousands of dollars in fact if you look at look at just the weight it's more valuable. Then golds these rhino horns are sold primarily in the various Asian countries. Where they're believed to have medicinal purposes like curing cancer. And and serving as aphrodisiac that has been widely debunked. By a Bob -- doctors. Around the world this was a shocking events because this was the first time. That's we believe that officials believe the authorities believe. That any sort of poaching has taken place. In a European zoo of course we hear all the time. About poaching of rhinos taking place in Africa. But this is the first time that we know of that is taken place here in France. And Pez taking place in Europe just devious sense of how all of this went down. If you look out there you can see some fencing there's an outer a security perimeter there's a fence there. That be poachers were able to. Get through then they went over there into that. We consider green housing over that that's where. That's a nighttime enclosure for these rhinos. The fact is a date right here in a little bit when the park closes 6 PM negative rhinos are gonna go through that gate into their nighttime enclosure we assume that's why they're over here right now is because they actually wanted to. Want to go inside but once the poachers were able to make their way through that outer fence they bent and broke down through. Two locked doors to get into the rhino enclosure where they carried out this horrific attack. On Vince as we understand it the police left just a short time ago there were combing through the scene trying to figure out what weapon was used. What school might have been used to chop off the horn. There are they are also looking through security footage we understand it their number of security cameras. Throughout this park they'll obviously be looking through that. That surveillance video but this is nots. A high security. Place this in did the assumption is that poaching would not pat take place in European zoo. That is changing now lot of zoos around the world that here in Europe and in the states have been alarmed by what happened here. They've put out an alert they vast zoos around the world to step up their security. In light of this. When I'm gonna do is ask our new friend Colombo at. Come on in here to a have a conversation cola is the daughter of the founder he told me that you basically grown up here. She's half American half French the American side is from Minnesota. And so just tell me quickly what was the response here yesterday when. The news broke that that your beloved Vince have been killed. Anyone is saying shook. His thanks seeing. And we immediately calls to friends and and eat home on my car seats and and absences. Soon to warn them except for some of them because we didn't we still looking at this stage I think these cynical criminals news. In this sort of opportunistic he or if this is actually organized gang. In which case that has been Sunnis from actions global mining licences. And what was the response from the other European zoos but as alarmed as newer certain. Fine as well. And so your understanding is is what I just said that they wrote to break in in the middle of the night correct and go into the enclosure with a runners have been sleeping at that point. Yes I am deeply completely they can be eating habits. Stephanie. Then Vince was on his he's additionally separate it from the other thing is that they can he can make its money sent because the Collins bill and saying the other line is we have seen what happened that it sends a head and the three gunshots since it hasn't face how would they have responded to loud gunshots like that. Scam. There would have been agitated but but they wouldn't have been able to say it charged the attackers on the content is at mindset. And in fact quote I was looking. May he says that means each. And so. Why do you think give any sense of why it possibly given that rhino horn is so valuable. And at their word sorry but six horns available on the three different rhinos. Why they would have targeted Vince wide it would have just made off with one horn. Tom was or some sort of response from from the park staff because we also understand that there were five staffer sleeping that night. That's well this week this must that minimum science fluently she management team that includes me. And we had anything one of us things right place to us. And how it we do see and I think that this. Until we the status hiding something voted a nutritionist page is because they. Stuff is suing the second and based film so I this that Olympic commitment blissful youth shall it. Anyway whatever it was it was fortunate because it's possible otherwise might kill him it has since. How difficult would it have been to get through that fence and then through those doors into the enclosure. Well the hasn't paid big and the payment defensive this yes we need to stick and and gates that they say it isn't think he'd be Maxwell gates. We'll see how did it because I think. Maybe one day pass and difficult Brett Keisel TV tenement in the right thing you indicating they knew where gay teens in US. Nine is. And we as you said people living on site cameras and maintenance and sometimes it this. Says it means that they he'd he'd been studying. For a while. Thinking that this you know any actions Ito. What would the next step for them B I mean it's obviously very difficult to sell this kind of thing in Europe. Probably even to get it out of Europe what what would their next move be. I would say if this isn't organized. In which we had listened to and then means in effect and the disease. I seen and Dave go ways of getting off because it was also in 2011. Some reforms potency and if it's not an organized gang in May be one thing that same question. If it was substance. More as if this kind and Katie professional criminals went nothing. And the delta nine more on this morning may be finding it Kong and it. Right have to. But like you said there are clearly determined to get in here which probably means they have a plan for getting rid of it as well yes said that scenes. Can you tell us about though white rhinos they're not quite endangered but they are. They're they're nearly threatened right for all and office since he's and ancient eakins. And I mean sometimes the IDC and then my. My lagging not they can things that secondly it's true they've got compete at 1009. Eyes in the wild white man's 181000 in. South half Africa. The thing is pitching is on the increase and in 2014. And in 2015 big species eat she and we. Wouldn't 12109. Is where killed. So and then makes you can actually kind of presence not threatening to strike if that it. And these three are part of understand a breeding program they've never been in the wilds. There were part of the effort to raise a number of whites in front as the games. For instance was born woman and he came and he. He. This whole. What sort of measures do you think that park we'll take in response and its. Terms of spending a security. Well. We felt we had insisted he met this in. Mind that she and so on this. And it. When I'm in the end game. And it's and it's changing on some citizens. I mean. I. It's quite a tight knit community among the zoos in Europe I imagine there's a lot of communication and exchange of ideas. As a lot of cooperation in this thing. Oh 8 PM at six. Season magnet if if you check this species survival band's web EP and we as parents death sentences please. And say yes we will convey fiscal operation to same thing justices. Well thank you so much particular time and I'm very sorry for your loss. We know. More or less how this happened we know more or less why it happened because of this. Perfect trade of rhino horn but what we are no closer to learning is. Who carried this out hopefully to please who built to code would use those clues. To determine that in the coming days for ABC news I'm Alex Marquardt inventory zoological park ice watching.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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