Farm With Huge Herd of Rhinos Is Being Auctioned Off

South African breeding farm has more than 10% of the world's white rhino population
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2023 11:36 AM CDT
For Sale: More Than 10% of the World's White Rhinos
White rhinos were almost hunted into extinction in the late 19th century.   (Getty Images/Chad Greggor)

If you've ever dreamed of owning your own herd of rhinos and you have a spare $10 million or so, you have until May 1 to place a bid for a farm in South Africa that's home to a large share of the world's surviving white rhinos. The farm being auctioned off by conservationist John Hume has a herd of 2,000 of the animals, believed to be 13% to 15% of the remaining wild population, NPR reports. The 81-year-old hotel tycoon says he has spent $150 million of his own money on the rhinos over the years and he can no longer afford to spend $425,000 a month on expenses, including heavy security. There has also been a funding shortfall for plans to release around 100 of the rhinos into the wild across Africa every year.

"I'm hoping that there is a billionaire that would rather save the population of rhinos from extinction than own a superyacht," Hume tells CBS News. "Maybe somebody for whom $5 million a year is small change." The farm is on around 33 square miles of land in an undisclosed location in South Africa's North West province. Other animals, including five hippos and 11 giraffes, are included in the sale. Hume says the inclusion of the farm's 11 tons of rhino horns is negotiable. The project started as an effort to create a farm where horns could be sawed off live rhinos and sold legally, thereby keeping the price down and reducing the incentive for poachers, who kill hundreds of rhinos in South Africa's national parks every year.

"From a rhino point of view, it was definitely worth it," Hume says of the project. "There are many more rhinos on Earth than when I started the project." Bidding started this week at $10 million, and Hume says he would like the buyer to be "a person or foundation with a passion for conserving rhinos and the means to keep the breeding project going." Experts say the South African government would probably block the sale if it suspected the buyer planned to use the animals in Chinese traditional medicine, National Geographic reports.

(More rhinoceros stories.)

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