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Save the Rhino Day
May 1 is Save the Rhino Day. The rhino is a magnificent animal that can weigh anywhere from 750 pounds to 8,000 pounds. The two African and three Asian species stand anywhere from four and a half feet tall to six feet tall. I wouldn't want to encounter one of these animals. Even though they have the reputation of being gentle creatures, I would be happy with observing them from afar.
Because the horn of this creature is in such high demand, they have been hunted illegally almost to extinction. This horn that is so widely coveted is made up of keratin, which is composed of the same stuff our fingernails are made of.
So why do people want their horns so badly? Each of these reasons the horn is coveted could be turned into an exciting story. You could use any of the following examples of why the rhino horn is so sought after as the basis of a romance story, a thriller, a mystery, or any other kind of story.
1) Some see the horn as a status symbol. Why? Maybe because they are so expensive. Maybe because they are so hard to get. Maybe because they are said to be able to do so many different things. Even though this horn caused the death of the rhino, pieces of it may be carried as a good luck charm.
2) The horn is said to be able to detect poisons. Let's say a poisonous liquid was poured into a cup made from a rhino's horn. This liquid would either bubble up or its poisonous properties would be rendered harmless.
3) This horn is said to have many medicinal uses. Back in 16th-century China, it was used to treat the following: boils, carbuncles, devil possession, fever, food poisoning, hallucinations, snakebites, typhoid, and vomiting. Rhino horn is still available in China today. Made into tablets, they are most often prescribed to lower fevers.
4) The horn can also be used to make items that are used every day. The Chinese have also used it to make things such as belt buckles, combs, hair pins, paperweights, rhino horn buttons, and talismans.
5) The Indians (from India, not American Indians) use the horn as an aphrodisiac. The horn is ground into powder, then mixed with herbs. This is supposed to make it more effective. The person who is to take it mixes it with honey or cream and takes it twice a day.
6) In North Yemen, dagger handles are made from rhino horns.
I am not defending the demand for these horns in any way, but remember, the horn is made out of a material similar to keratin, the stuff in our fingernails. If the horn is removed and the rhino left alive, the horn will regrow. I doubt that any rhino would willingly give up its horn, though.
I'm sure there are more ways that the rhino's horn is used by people. The six ways I give above should get you started with at least one story. Something else that will come in handy for a rhinoceros story - a group of these magnificent creatures is called a crash of rhinoceroses.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
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