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The horn

The horn consists of compacted keratin fibres (much the same material as your fingernails). Unfortunately, as is well known, rhino horn is one of the most sought after wildlife products in the far east and in the Sudan and brought both the white and black rhino to the brink of extinction. Fortunately the foresight of men like Dr. Ian Player and organisations such as the then Natal Parks Board led to timely intervention which has resulted in improved chances of survival of these species in Southern Africa. The prognosis in the rest of Africa remains poor however as poaching continues unabated. The horn is thought to possess aphrodisiac and analgesic properties and is much prized by Sudanese chieftains as handles for daggers. The horns of many rhino’s in Southern Africa have transponders inserted into them which assists conservationists and researchers in keeping track of them – even if the animals are poached their horns can often be traced to their destinations. The horns of white rhino can grow long and sharp. The longest horn on record measured 158,1 cm. (621/4 inches) which belonged to an animal shot in 1899 by Sir W. Gordon-Cumming. Horns are used as tools of attack and self defence and are sharpened by rubbing them up against stumps, tree trunks and termite mounds.

The front horn of this white rhino bull is truly impressive and guessing would be close to 100cm in length. Still far short however of the 158,1cm. record which would be more than half a meter longer!