The hottest thing on the black market: the rhino horn. Rhino are being poached at the rate of one every nine hours. The National Parks are not safe, rhino farms are on constant guard, even the Rhino Orphanage was attacked.
The crisis is so widespread, that even dead rhino are a target. The horn is stolen, whether it is attached to a stuffed rhino or simply a lone specimen. Museums throughout Europe are under threat; Sweden, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and England have all been hit.
Some of the specimens have been around since the 1900s, but regardless of age and origin, a horn is a horn. Just one can fetch $40,000 to $300,000 on the black market.
The latest heist was in The National Museum of Ireland warehouse. Fearing theft, the museum had the horns removed and placed in storage last year. But in April, the guard at the location was overpowered and the horns were taken anyhow.
According to Europol, it is believed that an Irish organized crime group is responsible. Antique dealers, auction houses, art galleries, museums, private collectors and zoos are all under threat. Although this has not yet become a widespread problem in America, Europol says there IS similar activity in North America.
From January 2011 through November 2012 there were 67 European thefts and 15 attempts.