Portuguese police have arrested an Australian and his son attempting to smuggle six rhino horns worth nearly half a million dollars out of the country, police said Monday.
The 63-year-old and his 31-year-old son were detained at Lisbon airport as they were about to board a flight to Ireland on Friday, the police said in a statement quoted by the national Lusa news agency.
The pair are suspected over the theft in April 2011 of two 18th century rhino horns from a natural history museum in Coimbra, around 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Lisbon.
The theft of rhino horns has surged across Europe, with around 20 cases reported this year alone, in what investigators believe is the work of an international gang.
African countries with a rhinoceros population are taking tougher measures to protect the species amid growing Asian demand for their horns, erroneously believed to cure diseases.