White rhinos are among the many endangered species of animals facing extinction. That is why South African John Hume founded the Platinum Rhino project in 2009 and invested over $150 million into protecting and breeding rhinos. As a result of his efforts, the project grew to 2,000 rhinos, representing a stunning 15% of the entire population worldwide.
However, by 2023, Hume's funds ran out and he was reluctantly forced to put the rhinos up for auction in April. Time passed without any bids, but eventually, to Hume's great relief, NGO African Parks stepped up and purchased the rhinos.
Although African Parks is purchasing the entire breeding program, their goal is to eventually rewild these rhinos. “The key thing will be finding conservation areas that are large enough and secure from poaching,” Dr. Mike Knight, chairman of the IUCN specialist group, says. “The conservation sector is delighted that African Parks can provide a credible solution for this important population, and a significant lifeline for this Near Threatened species.”
The project will take about a decade to complete. “To rewild these rhinos over the next 10 years to well-managed and secure areas, establishing or supplementing strategic populations, thereby de-risking the future of the species,” African Parks explains. “This is one of the largest continent-wide rewilding endeavors to occur for any species.”
Poaching remains a serious threat to white rhinos, especially in South Africa. Hopefully, through these thorough conservation efforts, Hume's rhino population will safely be released into the wild and continue to thrive in their natural environment.
A population of 2,000 privately owned white rhinos was put up for auction in April 2023.
NGO African Parks purchased the rhinos and intends to safely rewild them over a period of 10 years.
h/t: [Daily Maverick]