Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do they really need more lead in their pencils?

I saw four of the Big Five yesterday before I was airborne even half an hour. It started with a lone lioness trotting across a floodplain. Depending on who's asking, 50% of all the African elephants live in Botswana so I see gobs of them every day. I noticed a flock of egrets and swung that direction, sure enough, they followed a herd of buffalo numbering three to five hundred. I didn't see any leopards from the air but I did see my first rhino.

We have two species of rhinoceros in Africa, white and black. Both are dark grey. The earliest white folks in this part of the world spoke Dutch which has morphed into Afrikaans. When they described the mouth of one species, they used their word for wide which sounded a lot like "white" to the Brits. Just like "Alyeska" became "Alaska" or Mexican cowpokes started out as "Vacqueros" but became "Buckaroos."

They're roughly the size of a pick-up truck and have two horns made of keratin. Some people believe that ground rhino horn cures all sorts of maladies from fever to limp dick. Of course the list of weird items to perk one's sex drive is as bizarre as it is long. Some of my favorites are oysters (no doubt made up by a guy that had caught a bunch of the snot bags and needed to get rid of them), tiger urine (how exactly does one acquire that cat's piss?) and of course, rhino horn.

Rhino horns are made of the same thing as fingernails. Ground-up toenails put anyone in the mood? Even so, more than 400 rhinos have been poached in Southern Africa this year. We sure are a strange species.

1 comment:

cynicalbuddha said...

Hey Shaner,
Just thought I'd drop a comment and say hi. I'm loving the updates by the way. I only wish you had more pictures. You missed our first major snow fall this morning. We got about 3 inches in Anchorage, I'm not sure how much they got down in Girdwood.
Try not to get eaten by a Hippo!