An 81-year-old man named John Hume is the founder and owner of the Platinum Rhino project, which he started back in 2009. The project aims to save the white rhinos of South Africa from being poached to extinction.
However, the costs of protecting the rhinos are exorbitant, and John can no longer afford the upkeep of the animals. He revealed that he had spent more than $150 million of his own money on the Platinum Rhino project.
Once a multimillionaire, John made his fortune from being in the hotel industry. But the conservation project has consumed most of his resources.
Security, food, and veterinary services for the rhinos alone cost him $170,000 per month. Much of the money goes toward security in an effort to deter poachers from targeting the rhinos.
John is now hoping to auction the rhinos off to a wealthy buyer, ideally, someone with a passion for helping the rhino population thrive.
The project presently protects 2,000 white rhinos living on about 20,000 acres of land in South Africa. It has been a success in furthering the growth of the species, with 200 rhinos being born every year.
One of John’s goals for his rhino breeding farm was to make the trade of rhino horns legal. Currently, it is banned in many countries.
His theory was that the rhinos’ horns could be safely sawed off on his farm without causing them harm, and the horns could be sold legally, putting poachers out of business.
According to the project’s website, a rhino horn from a dead rhino is worth more than an entire live rhino on the black market.
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