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article imageZookeeper fired for growing pot in rhinoceros habitat

By Nicole Karns     Sep 21, 2010 in World
An Austrian zookeeper has been fired after it was discovered that he was secretly growing a cannabis plantation in the rhinoceros enclosure he was managing.
The 59-year-old keeper at the Hellbrunn Zoo was the sole custodian of the enclosure for eight years and was the only one who had access. One would have thought it the perfect crime when you have enormous and often irritable beasts scaring off possible intrusions as well.
Police only discovered the 33 cannabis plants after receiving a tip from a local drug user that the keeper had been supplying.
"It was appalling. We had never thought something like that could happen in our zoo," the director of the zoo, Sabine Grebner, told local newspaper Salzburger Krone. "We cater for families and children -- we don't want anything to do with drugs and these people."
Media reports said the cannabis plants had been well camouflaged and out of sight from visitor view. He also took measures to keep the plants out of reach from the rhinos.
The zookeeper also now faces charges for illegally possessing weapons after officers found a gun and a shotgun in his flat.
The story comes at a bizarre time as just recently in Austria it was reported that a shopkeeper, 28, now faces charges for growing and selling cannabis crops as "decorative plants" in his specialized "exotic plants" store in Gmunden.
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