Rhino horn thieves foiled!

August 28, 2011 • 11:12 am

by Greg Mayer

Jerry has called attention to the problem of theft of rhino horns from museums and other collections in Europe, citing a NY Times piece from Friday. Officials at the Natural History Museum at Tring (Lord Rothschild‘s former private museum) were aware of the problem, and ready for it. Thieves broke into the Museum early Saturday morning, and made off with two horns, but the horns were fakes! As the BBC put it:

Unfortunately for them [the thieves], staff at the Hertfordshire museum were aware of the string of thefts from other museums and auction houses, and had swapped the real rhino horns for carefully crafted fakes, almost indistinguishable from the real thing. And totally worthless.

Here’s one of the afflicted rhinos:

Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) at the Tring Musuem, from which thieves removed a fake horn. Photo issued by Natural History Museum.

The real horns are safe at the museum. The Associated Press provides a further account.