Maybe Elle would like to donate to rhino conservation

Sumatran rhinos

Elle Macpherson has admitted – and then denied – that she takes rhino horn as some kind of traditional medicine, even though it’s illegal and there is no evidence that it has any significant or unique health benefit.

Oh yeah, and its kinda driving the big mammals to extinction.

Asked why she takes ground rhino horn, she told The Times online that she couldn’t really say. “(It) works for me,” she said, via Twitter. Not exactly a convincing endorsement for the medicinal qualities of what amounts to a giant fingernail.

The 47-year-old quickly tried to cover her tracks, once she realised how far down her own throat she had managed to stuff her delicate foot, and once she had been condemned by conservationists around the world.

It was just a joke, she said. Lighten up!

She told news.com.au that she had “never knowingly consumed or encouraged the use or consumption of any products which contain material derived from endangered species”.

She regretted “any distress or offence that her banter with an interviewer might have caused” and insisted she was “fundamentally opposed to any activity which is detrimental to the protection of endangered animals”.

Rhino conservationists who have devoted their lives to ending the barbaric trade in rhino horns are dismayed. That a supermodel and television personality would publicly joke (if indeed that’s all it was) about such a crime, and thereby encourage others to participate in the trade of critically endangered species, is appalling.

Mongabay notes that the consumption of rhino horn is the main reason for the rhino decline worldwide, and  the complete extinction of four species.

Four of the remaining five rhino species are facing extinction, including the Javan (less than 50 individuals) and the Sumatran (less than 250 adults).

Meanwhile, according to the Sapa news agency, poachers in helicopters recently cut the horns off a heavily drugged white rhino with a chain-saw on a reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The animal survived, but sustained serious injuries to its skull and nasal cavity. It is believed poachers also captured the cow’s month-old calf and took it away,” the report said.

Maybe those poachers heard that “The Body” was marketing their wares and decided to it was time to expand their business.

(photo courtesy of wIanb via flickr)

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