News & Media Centre

Rhinoceros horn in the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History

Four rhinoceros heads were stolen from premises of the National Museum of Ireland late in the evening of Wednesday 17 April 2013. A security guard was overpowered by a number of raiders and tied up but has not been injured. He managed to free himself and notify Gardaí who are investigating the robbery.

The stolen rhinoceros heads have a total of eight horns that have probably been taken to supply the illegal trade in powdered horn that is used in traditional medicines in the Far East. Their price is based on weight and the total amount stolen could have a street value in the region of €500,000.

Rhinoceros horns have been taken from rhinos poached in the wild for many years and several species of rhino have been brought to the edge of extinction because of this. In recent years, thieves have turned to museums and private collections that include rhino taxidermy and artworks that include rhino horn. Many museums have taken rhinoceros horn off display as a result. The National Museum of Ireland took the decision to remove all rhinoceros horn from display and the stolen specimens were placed in storage over a year ago. Currently there are no rhinoceros horns on display in the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History.


Nigel Monaghan, Keeper, Natural History Division, National Museum of Ireland

T: 01 6486354 | M: 087 7985570 | E:  

Maureen Gaule, Marketing Department

T: 01 648 6429 | M: 087 2075133 | E:  

Bernie Byron, Marketing Department

T: 094 903 1773 | M: 087 798 7439 | E:  

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