Wednesday, October 4, 2023
86.6 F

    South Africa Puts World’s Largest Rhino Conservation Farm Up for Auction as Funds Run Dry: Future of 2,000 White Rhinos at Stake #RhinoConservation #SouthAfrica #Auction

    Must read

    Read Time:3 Minute, 43 Second

    [Pretoria, South Africa.], South Africa.- (African Boulevard News) – The world’s largest rhino conservation farm is up for auction in South Africa. For the past 30 years, its owner, South African conservationist John Hume, has spent lavishly on this philanthropic project, spending around $150 million to save the world’s second-largest land mammal. However, his funds have run dry, and the future of the 2,000 southern white rhinos on his North West province farm is at stake.

    The Farm and Its Rhinos

    Hume’s heavily guarded farm, located at an undisclosed location in the North West province, is home to approximately 2,000 southern white rhinos. The species was hunted to near-extinction in the late 19th century, but conservation efforts have helped it recover. Today, the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes white rhinos as “near threatened,” with only about 18,000 left following a decline in the last decade.

    The farm’s rhinos are under constant guard, with miles of fences, cameras, and heat detectors, and an army of rangers patrolling the site. The tight security is designed to dissuade would-be poachers, sending the message that “they don’t stand a chance.” However, poachers remain a significant threat. Speaking from the control room, Brandon Jones, the farm’s head of security, admits that they are only partially successful, as poachers will merely look to kill rhinos elsewhere.

    The Auction and Its Stakes

    The online auction, which opens on Wednesday, offers the farm with its rhinos, land, and machinery. Hume also offers to add its 10-tonne stock of rhino horns to the lot, which he believes should be sold to fund conservation projects, creating a legal market for them. The horns were preventively cut off as a way to dissuade poachers from killing the animals and would be worth more than $500 million on the black market.

    The future of these rhinos in the north-west province depends on the auction’s outcome. Hume says that the farm’s breeding record is impressive, and the protection record is excellent, so it’s easy for someone else to take up the challenge of maintaining the farm. He fervently hopes that a billionaire would prefer saving the rhino population from extinction rather than owning a superyacht.

    As the largest rhino farm in the world, Hume’s property is not without controversy. Some animal rights groups argue that farmed rhinos should be released into the wild, while others say that farming merely promotes the trade in rhino horn. Still, Hume insists that he is doing the right thing, and evidence shows that his farm has contributed to saving the white rhino species.

    South Africa’s Poaching Problem

    South Africa is home to almost 80% of the world’s rhinos, making it a poaching hotspot driven by demand from Asia, where rhino horns are used in traditional medicine for their supposed therapeutic effects. The government said that 448 of the rare animals were killed across the country last year, only three fewer than in 2021, despite increased protection at national parks like the renowned Kruger.

    John Humes confesses that it worries him that on the black market, a rhino horn from a dead rhino is still worth more than a live one. The price per weight rivals that of gold and cocaine, estimated at $60,000 per kilogram. The fact that rhino poaching continues even with the tight security on Hume’s farm and others around South Africa emphasizes how lucrative and prevalent the trade remains.

    A Lifelong Love for Rhinos

    Hume, a former businessman who made his fortune developing tourist resorts, fell in love with rhinos by accident. After retiring with dreams of running a farm, he bought the first rhino specimen, and the rest is history. Through the years, he lavished approximately $150 million on his massive philanthropic project to save the world’s second-largest land mammal.

    “From a rhino point of view, it was definitely worth it,” the bespectacled octogenarian, wearing a chequered shirt, said in a Zoom interview. “There are many more rhinos on Earth than when I started the project.”

    As Hume accepts that he has spent all his life savings on the rhino farm, he remains optimistic, hoping that someone will rescue these endangered creatures by buying his ranch. Paying for the rhino population’s conservation should be viewed as a worthwhile investment rather than a charity, Hume believes. The auction’s outcome will determine the fate of the rhino conservation farm and its inhabitants.

    More from this Editor

    More articles

    Leave a Reply

    Latest article