By Michelle Hennessy
A number of Irish environmental groups have asked gardaí and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to find out whether Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley holds the necessary permit for the rhino horn recently stolen from his house.
The horn, which is worth between €200,000 and €300,000 on the black market was stolen from the dancer’s Cork home during a burglary last week. It was cut off a rhino head that was mounted on the wall of the ‘Safari Room’ at the Castlehyde property.
Anyone in possession of any parts of an endangered or protected species is required to have a permit or certificate of authorisation under the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the groups want to know if Flatley has this.
In a statement today, they said wildlife crime is ranked third after drugs and arms trafficking globally.
On 18 January 2014, the South African government revealed that a record 1004 rhinos were killed by poachers during 2013 across the country – the equivalent of nearly three animals a day.
“Furthermore, as we enter a new year there appears to be no let up to the slaughter of these magnificent animals,” the groups said.
In their letter to gardaí at Fermoy, the groups said they would also be grateful if they could be assured that any other specimens in Flatley’s ‘Safari Room’ at the house have the appropriate authorisation from the appropriate authority.