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Offbeat – 04 April 14

Use of rhino horn as a performance enhancer is a de facto admission that the user is an impotent little swine who can barely reach three centimeters fully erect, even with the aid of one of those Swedish vacuum pump devices.

I decided some years ago to focus on the positives and ignore things like cynicism, sarcasm, bitterness and vandalising the minds of passing strangers based on appearances, which can be very telling if you have ever read Sherlock Holmes or know anything about feeble-minded neuroses. It has worked well for me, mostly, but today I am inclined to put my cheerful Pollyanna thing aside.
I generally loathe being out in nature by daylight. It’s full of sun and sweat and foreigners marching around under the eyes of loud tour guides.
Evening is a better time to get out there, when the air is cool and the tourists are getting crosseyed on whatever passes for a sundowner.
That being said I still wear my heart on my sleeve as far as nature and the environment go. In fact, if I had more guts, I’d probably get a tattoo of a leaf on my upper arm.
The news that rhinos are being poached in Namibia fills me with dark anger. Those are national rhinos. In other words they belong to me as well as you.
Lets get the obligatory, standard condemnation over. Use of rhino horn as a performance enhancer is a de facto admission that the user is an impotent little swine who can barely reach three centimeters fully erect, even with the aid of one of those Swedish vacuum pump devices. It further implies that the user is too stupid to know that rhino dung is a far more effective performance enhancer, a fact that has been overlooked for far too long.

There is also the small matter of national character. Without any irony, entire nations are being painted with ugly colours because of this sort of poaching. It’s guilt by association.
If you are a national of a country associated with illegal trade in wildlife products, it will rub off on you. It’s not a nice fact, or a reasoned fact, but it is a fact. Deal with the problem or live with the prejudice.
Now let’s get to a deeper source of anger.
For a couple of years now the decimation of the rhino population has been a known fact. Namibia has escaped it, mainly because South Africa was so tolerant for so long. The recent shooting of rhino poachers in South Africa should have sounded every single alarm bell. If poaching operations are decimated by gun battles in one place, rhino poaching will shift to another place which does not yet shoot. The logical tactic was to place armed guards around rhinos, same as in South Africa, same as in Kenya.
If the game guards aren’t up to the task, hand it over to radicalised European students and do-gooders. Apparently they are aggressive and don’t stop to think much. Offer them free holidays with guns, but explain that game viewing vehicles are not legitimate targets.
Perhaps a more reasonable alternative will be to hand it over to average Namibians, to whom the rhinos actually belong. Offer volunteer getaways. If office productivity comes into question, pitch it as a combination of environmental responsibility and a team building exercise that would make Rambo happy.
Let’s hope the penny drops and the discussions about the legality of the thing don’t take too long: we don’t have a lot of rhinos, no matter how much the population has recovered after the depredations of the Eighties.
Important talk won’t be possible if there is nothing important left to talk about.
Putting aside the whole thing of being humane and caring for animals, let’s get to the fact that rhinos are money in the national pocket.  Last I looked, Namibian tourism consisted mainly of Etosha, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and rhinos. The rhinos showed up in a really big way in the last few years. Everyone seems to have them with the exception of a few guest houses in town. If tourists are prepared to spend large amounts of money to see a rhino, that means jobs all round. If that doesn’t mean something to you, you are obviously not Namibian, or you are a rhino poacher, or you are impotent and need illegal and immoral help to get over the fact that your nickname is ‘Droopy’. For now, just stay angry.

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