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World Rhinoceros Day!
September 22, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

"In March 2012, following the brutal attack of three rhinos by poachers seeking horn, Dr. William Fowlds, the wildlife veterinarian treating the rhinos, contacted WitmerLab for insight into the anatomical structure of the horn, skull, and nasal cavity of rhinos. The poachers had used machetes to hack off the horns, leaving deep wounds in the face and exposing the delicate mucous membranes of the paranasal air sinuses and nasal cavity." The result of this partnership was the Visible Interactive Rhino. For more rhinoceros anatomy, check out photos from a rhinoceros dissection from What's in John's Freezer? (previously).

September 22 is World Rhino Day, a day devoted to rhinoceros conservation and ending poaching of rhinoceros for their horns, falsely believed to have medicinal value.
posted by ChuraChura (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
For more rhinoceros anatomy, check out

For the rest of the day: this phrase will be the most interesting thing you read.
posted by Fizz at 9:27 AM on September 22, 2012


So, were the rhinos able to be saved? I'd like to believe that they were fitted with prosthetic horns with built-in lasers to ward off poachers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Halloween Jack, I don't know - but here's a different uplifting animal prosthesis story: Beauty the Eagle gets a Prosthetic Beak.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:12 AM on September 22, 2012


Douglas Adams, Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent on the nasal membranes of the Rhinoceros. More here, in which it becomes clear why he's talking about them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:16 AM on September 22, 2012


One rhino survived after all is said and done, Halloween Jack. On another note, I couldn't imagine doing this to a creature that I knew was feeling pain. I've slaughtered animals for food before with that always being done efficiently and with the desire to minimize suffering. The barbarism committed to these animals; I never cut the arms and legs off of a chicken because I wanted to have buffalo wings that night for dinner.
posted by ZaneJ. at 10:39 AM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


National Geographic:

Rhino Wars: Rivaling the price of gold on the black market, rhino horn is at the center of a bloody poaching battle.

Ivory Worship: Thousands of elephants die each year so that their tusks can be carved into religious objects. Can the slaughter be stopped?
posted by homunculus at 12:07 PM on September 22, 2012


Well, thanks George_Spiggott. The sidebar videos on the page of your nasal membranes link dropped me into a Douglas Adams rabbithole out of which I still have not emerged. I don't know whether to hug you or hate you.
posted by hippybear at 1:49 PM on September 22, 2012


ChuraChura: "Halloween Jack, I don't know - but here's a different uplifting animal prosthesis story: Beauty the Eagle gets a Prosthetic Beak ."

I've said it before and it bears repeating. I'd gladly shoot that and any other poacher in the face. For free.
posted by Splunge at 2:15 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why is rhino horn so sought after?

Because it is used in traditional "medicines" and carved into symbols of manhood.

Why is it used in medicines and symbols?

Because ancient wisdom holds that it is a aphrodisiac and aids virility.

Why was it thought to have these properties?

BECAUSE IT'S A HORNY STICKY-OUTTIE HARD THING.


I wish we could get past such stupid magical thinking, but here we are, thousands of years later, and people still seek out "lost" ancient wisdom that was never lost, simply discarded.
posted by anonymisc at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the guys I work with is ex-SAS, in that quietly believable way where he never brags and only occasionally lets slip what he used to do. I'm visiting Africa soon and he told me about when he went to Africa on a mission that involved shooting poachers.

I'm normally reasonably pacifistic but god that sounded satisfying.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 7:41 PM on September 22, 2012


As if simply being poachers isn't bad enough, these gangs, what with being tooled up with guns and facing severe penalties and quite possibly death if caught or interdicted, are not above a bit of robbery or kidnapping if business is slow or they see a good opportunity. They're pretty much the the biggest danger to independent travellers in Africa. Or at least right up there with food poisoning and war.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:44 PM on September 22, 2012


I can't wait until the day we have smart quad rotors that follow at-risk animals, and phone home to a drone when poacher-like activity is observed. Lets hope the rhinos and elephants last until then.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:44 AM on September 23, 2012


Lets hope the rhinos and elephants last until then.

Sadly, I don't see much hope.
posted by homunculus at 1:01 AM on September 23, 2012


stoprhinopoaching.com appears to be a good starting point if you're looking for information and ways to help.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:11 AM on September 23, 2012


anonymisc: "Why is rhino horn so sought after?

Because it is used in traditional "medicines" and carved into symbols of manhood.

Why is it used in medicines and symbols?

Because ancient wisdom holds that it is a aphrodisiac and aids virility.

Why was it thought to have these properties?

BECAUSE IT'S A HORNY STICKY-OUTTIE HARD THING.


I wish we could get past such stupid magical thinking, but here we are, thousands of years later, and people still seek out "lost" ancient wisdom that was never lost, simply discarded.
"


If people can't be made to understand that diluting something makes it weaker, that diluting to the point of there not being a single molecule left over makes the remainder nothing but water, how are you going to convince them that the idea of the rhino horn which they've believed in for many 100's of years is bs?
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:02 PM on September 23, 2012


Previously
posted by euphorb at 12:45 PM on September 24, 2012


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