John Hume seeks billionaire investor to take over his rhino breeding farm

Posted on 25 April 2023 By David Henning

After spending his fortune on a 30-year mission to save rhinos, South African conservationist John Hume is throwing in the towel and auctioning his rhino farm to the highest bidder.

A rhino gets shots of anaesthetics before its horn is removed at John Hume’s farm. Photo by Gallo Images/Rapport/Conrad Bornman.

‘I’m hoping that there is a billionaire that would rather save the population of rhinos from extinction than own a superyacht,’ Hume said. He added that the investor would need deep pockets to afford the extra cost of surveillance and security, the farm’s biggest expense.

The security measures on the farm comprise radar and virtual fences, boots on the ground and helicopter surveillance, explains Brandon Jones, the project’s security manager. ‘Our rhinos are under 24-hour visual watch. We know where all the rhinos are all of the time,’ he says.

‘I’m left with nothing except 2 000 rhinos and 8 000 ha of land,’ Hume added.

Regardless of the massive expense – having spent $150 million – Hume said that ‘From a rhino point of view, it was definitely worth it.’I’ve spent my life savings on that population of rhinos for 30 years. And I’ve finally run out of money.’

His heavily guarded farm at an undisclosed location in the North West Province has up to 2 000 rhinos, and since the start of his venture 30 years ago, 1 800 calves have been born on the farm.

The online auction goes live on Wednesday 26 April and includes the farm, its animals and machinery. Hume also added that the farm’s added 10-ton stock of rhino horns is also non-negotiable.

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