13 June 2012


I suppose all you can see in the picture is a darker dot with lighter stuff around it. I am told by an expert that the black bit in the middle is the growth point.  Well I suppose it is basically a giant finger nail consisting of keratin. You could make your own one if you saved all your fingernail and toenail clippings and found a way to compress them into a solid piece. If you chose to do this you can ask your family and friends to save their clippings as the end product, if made correctly, could be valuable.

It was interesting to sniff the thing. The dark outside bit smells strongly of animal with a bovine cow like aroma and the inner bit reminded me of oil or diesel, probably from the chainsaw that was used to amputate it.

So what is it good for? Not much really.

In the Middle East it is very fashionable among men to have it fashioned as a handle for a curved dagger – apparently it ages well and turns black.

Medicinally there is a lot of myth and mystique but fortunately there is no scientific foundation for any use. I suppose I most mention that some research found it was able to reduce fever in rats. It would be better to give your rats willow leaf to chew as that contains the ingredients of aspirin which does have scientific backing.

As a cure for cancer I am afraid I can find no proof. If you are given some the person treating you is a quack and the only thing that is being cured is his or her bank balance – it is amazing how false beliefs can drive up the value of a useless object.

Lots of people believe that it is regarded as an aphrodisiac in the East but this is not so – it is used to treat fevers and convulsions and, as I have said before, there is no scientific backing for this. If you suffer from impotence do look in your inbox as there is bound to be a mail that offers you Viagra at a discount rate. It is guaranteed to work better than shavings from this thing.

There is an interesting historical use from Africa – always something new and exciting from the Dark Continent! Yes, in the early days they were used as door-stops. The weight is about right and the shape quite suitable for picking up when closing the door. Of course this use has stopped as this useless thing has become too valuable. Because the trade is not legal there is a lot of stealing of them from many places and sadly many have died trying to steal them or while trying to protect them.

Interesting too that some people have accumulated hundreds of these things and they stand to become millionaires should trade in it become legalized. Luckily trade is illegal for the moment. Obviously those who have many want the trade legalized while those who worry about the original owner want the current status quo to remain.

This is such a useless thing except to the real owner. Sadly it had to be removed to protect him from poachers although ironically it is the only thing he has to protect himself. It is rather useless for self-defence against automatic rifle fire or a tranquilizing dart if you are large, lumbering and myopic White Rhino Cerototherium simum.  

This White Rhino was bought to the Kragga Kamma Game Park near Port Elizabeth in South Africa and his task will be to ensure that there is a next generation that comes from the three other female Rhinos who stay in the park.

(I would like to thank the Cantor family (especially Mike and Ayesha Cantor) for inviting me to see the new rhino arrive, the stay in the boma and being allowed to watch his release into the park. Let’s hope we hear the pitter-patter of baby feet rhino feet soon!)

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