Thief Hacks Fake Rhino in Quest for Prized Horn

Rhino horn is prized in China and Vietnam, where it is used medicinally

By Sam Schulz
|  Thursday, Apr 5, 2012  |  Updated 8:00 AM PDT
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A thief broke into a South African game reserve lodge and made off with a prized rhino horn — only the wall-mounted rhino head he cut it from was actually made of fiberglass.

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A thief broke into a South African game reserve lodge and hacked off the horn of a wall-mounted rhino head, BBC News reported — a testament to the sky-high demand for rhino horns, prized in Asia for medicinal uses.

The trouble? The rhino wasn't real. Neither was the horn. The entire thing was made of fiberglass.

Try selling that rhino horn on the black market.

"I was angry at the time, but it was also funny," said Susan Lottering, who owns the Lombardini Game Farm, told BBC News.

The Telegraph reported that the thief only incidentally turned poacher. He first tried to break into the cash register, and when that failed, he yanked the rhino head replica off the wall, dragged it outside and cut off its horn.

The fiberglass rhino model, nicknamed Barendina, commemorated the game reserve's first rhino. Lottering said it would get a new horn.

As demands have risen in southeast Asia for their horns, rhinos have become such prime targets for poaching that all the game farm's 15 rhinos have been dehorned so as not to lure poachers, according to BBC News.

South Africa is home to the majority of the world's rhino population.

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