When John Hume put his 2,000 rhino up for auction in April, he didn't receive a single bid. On Monday night, the NGO African Parks announced it would purchase the world's largest population of privately owned white rhinos, which will be 'rewilded' over 10 years.
Africa's beleaguered rhinos have been thrown a significant lifeline with the announcement that nearly 2,000 semi-wild rhinos owned by South African rhino breeder John Hume will be "rewilded" into reserves across South Africa and other parts of the continent over the next 10 years.
African Parks, a private Johannesburg-based conservation NGO that manages 22 protected areas in partnership with 12 governments across Africa, confirmed on Monday, 4 September that it had "stepped in as the new owner of the world's largest private captive rhino breeding operation", the Platinum Rhino project, a 7,800-hectare property in North West.
The project was started by Hume, a wealthy property developer turned wildlife rancher who has earned both opprobrium and praise for his decades-old initiative to breed rhinos, harvest their horns without harming them physically and then sell the horns to buyers in the Far East.
However, with no indication that the majority of member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are willing to overturn the 1974 international ban on the trade in rhino horns, Hume announced earlier this year that he had run out of funds to keep his project going and was offering them for sale via...