Our culture typically props supermodels up on a pedestal but that may all be about to change for Elle Macpherson – the 47 year old Aussie beauty known as much for her nickname ‘The Body’ as for her diverse entrepreneurial endeavors – now that she has confessed her fondness for consuming keratin-packed rhino horn.
Although the five surviving species of Rhinoceros remaining in the wild today (making up a total population of less than 11,000) are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), poaching persists because it is so wildly lucrative for the hunters, most of whom live at below-poverty conditions.
The seemingly well-preserved host of Britain’s Next Top Model – who describes her illegal dietary habit as tasting like a cross between fungus and crushed bone – likely pays roughly $60,000 for the equivalent of one kilo of Rhinoceros horn in powdered form despite the fact that the endangered pachyderms are left to die after their horns are sawed off. And no…unlike nails or hair, their horns never regenerate.
In addition to being used as a Traditional Chinese Medicine aphrodisiac, powdered rhino horn is also prescribed to treat chest pains, convulsions, snake bites, food poisoning, fevers – and in the case of Macpherson – presumably contained in various beauty products despite very little scientific evidence proving that it does indeed offer medicinal properties.
The model, who made the headlines just one year ago for protesting a London restaurant that was serving endangered bluefin tuna, seems to have a different perspective toward the chronically endangered rhino: “Put it this way, works for me.”
Until high profile celebrities and the Asian market abandon their pursuit of rhino horn, South African game reserves will continue reporting on the slaughter of a rhino every two days.