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Rhino Horns Worth More Than Gold, Leads To Wave Of Thefts In Europe

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Art theft results in an estimated loss of $6 billion each year, but does that take into account the amount people will pay on the black market?

The Ipswich Museum in England recently became the latest target in a wave of peculiar heists that have struck European natural history museums in the past few months. The high-ticketed item? Rhinoceros horns.

Just a pound of the powder is said to exceed an asking price of $45,000 on the black market, making it pricier than diamonds, gold and cocaine. The sudden spike in pursuit is due to the fact that practitioners of traditional medicine in China and other Asian countries believe ground rhinoceros horns contain medicinal attributes that help cure diseases such as cancer.

At this time, the police suspect an Irish gang is responsible for the epidemic of post-mortem poaching.

Aside from targeting galleries and museums, the surge in price and demand is impacting the illegal poaching industry. So far this year there have been more than 200 rhinos killed; and with three species of rhino listed as "critically endangered," the need to take extreme measures has never been so evident.