John Hume, the owner of the world's largest private rhino population, has almost run out of finance to maintain his herd. He is planning to sell off a Mpumalanga nature estate next month and it might be the last roll of the dice for a man who gambled on rhino horn becoming a tradeable commodity.
More than 1,700 white rhinos roam John Hume's ranch in North West, which makes him the biggest private owner of the species by far. The global population of all five rhino species is about 25,000, so he owns about 7% of the rare creatures.
He also has a stockpile of five tonnes of rhino horn, harvested from his herd over the years in dehorning operations.
He has not had a rhino killed by poachers in well over two years, which makes his operation a conservation success story.
A real estate tycoon in a former life, Hume has one more major asset (after his horns, animals and working ranch): the 6,600ha Mauricedale Nature Estate just south of the Kruger National Park.
This week he said he would put this property under the hammer on 25 September 2019. A decade ago, the estate was valued at between...