The world of billionaires is swamped with all things mighty- lavish villas, megayachts that would put hotels to shame, and a bank balance that can fund an entire nation! Still, Platinum Rhino owner John Hume worries his 2,000 white rhinos and their home may not find a savior. Unable to be a superhero to his large herd of animals, the South African magnate has little choice but to end his crusade. He launched an auction to sell off the pack in an online sale starting at $10 million. Platinum Rhino Project is a 21,000-acre ranch about 100 miles southwest of Johannesburg, home to 13% to 15% of the world’s white rhinos.
The sprawling ranch started in 1993 with 200 rhinos. The most unusual auction will witness a whopping 1,993 rhinos find a new savior, along with 213 buffaloes, five hippos, seven zebras, and 11 giraffes. 81-year-old John Hume spent over $150 million to protect rhinos in its nature reserves against illegal hunters who have decimated the wild population.
Running the farm is a time, money, and energy-consuming business with about 100 employees, including vets, rangers, and security guards to protect the animals from poachers, a helicopter for air patrols, and a $10,000 daily upkeep cost.
His daughter-in-law Tammy Hume shared selling the Platinum Rhino Project was the only option after failing to overturn a global ban on selling rhino horn to fund the farm. “I’m sympathetic and emotional. Rhinos are underdogs. They stand the least chance of surviving poaching,” he told the Daily Maverick. “It’s impossible to say what these 2,000 rhinos have cost me. Billions. I was rich then. And now I’m not.”
Hume hopes that a high-net-worth individual passionate about conserving and saving these animals will help keep the breeding project going. An auction page on the site adds, “With 200 rhinos born a year, the project have the power to make a significant difference and bolster declining rhino populations on the African continent.” The online auction ends on May 1, ending the viability of the breeding herd. Tammy Hume said, “The only real option open to us is to disband the project. So break it down, sell off the rhinos piecemeal, and that breeding ability will be forever gone.” $10 million to make a real difference in the life of living, breathing animals sounds like a piece of cake when several billionaires cruise in superyachts cost a lot more money.