Biodiversity challenge – Khting vor

On the dilemma of the horns

What should we make of the snake-eating buffalo?
Was it a fake, a Cambodian gruffalo?
One man pronounced it a type of wild cattle,
Sceptics denounced it as mere tittle-tattle.
Many insisted it never existed.
Rumours abounded, mostly unfounded.
Elusive enigma or mythical beast?
No credible footage was ever released.
If someone recorded the khting vor,
The film ended up on the cutting room floor.

Credulous tourists were eager for proof;
Devious craftsmen obliged on the hoof;
Twisted some cow horns, distorted the troof;
Spiral horn prices soared through the roof.

Whoever started this ruminant rumour
Must have been blessed with
A warped sense of humour;
Those with a penchant for
Practical jokes
Will agree khting vor
Was a five-star hoax.

Or was it, folks?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile – Khting vor

IUCN Red List Category – Endangered (Possibly non-existent)

The khting vor is a source of great controversy among zoologists. Opinions are divided about whether it even exists. An unusual set of spiral horns found in a Vietnamese market and ostensibly belonging to a new species of wild cattle was taken away and analysed at great length, but the results were inconclusive. Souvenir horns purporting to be those of the khting vor, but patently belonging to domestic cattle, regularly turn up in Cambodian markets. The received wisdom is that the snake-eating, spiral-horned khting vor is a figment of the local imagination. Some scientists, however, believe that the myth may be based on a real, possibly extinct, species of wild bovid. The debate continues to this day.

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