Elephant Alphabet – Q is for Quirky

September 7, 2011

A rhino likes a scratch, tickle, blanket, or mattress

A rhino likes a scratch, tickle, blanket, or mattress

Along with the orphan elephants, keepers care for and rehabilitate orphan Black Rhinos at the Nairobi Nursery (David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust). One such baby rhino took to his mattress and liked to flip it over his body like a makeshift tent. The constant contact with his skin may have comforted him as a substitute for his mother. When the orphan elephants pass by the stockade of Maxwell, an older rhino who is also blind, he becomes very joyful when they pat his body with their trunks. When he gets excited, he likes to run around his stockade. Rhinos have a good memory and are guided by their sense of smell more than sight. Maxwell does not fall or bump into items while running around his stockade.

The Black Rhino numbers had dwindled in Tsavo National Park due to poaching. Some Asian cultures believe that the rhino horn has natural medicinal properties. However, scientists’ tests have found that the horn is mainly composed of keratin, with calcium and melanin at the core. As a result, scientists liken the horn to a horse’s hoof or human fingernail.

Note: I’m not abandoning the topic of elephants. However, I have so immersed myself in the online literature and videos of elephants that I’m slightly overwhelmed with how to best tell the elephant story. On a website I was reading today, elephants were described as a flagship species. This means they are charismatic enough that they could become a symbol for nature conservancy. I believe there is a good balance of knowing facts about elephants but also making an emotional connection to them. I’m trying to resolve how to express that in this blog.


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