Tuesday, September 05, 2023
African Parks, an NGO, announced its acquisition of the world's largest rhino farm, situated in South Africa and housing a staggering 2,000 rhinoceroses.
The move comes amid a pressing need to safeguard these huge creatures, given South Africa's status as a poaching hotspot driven by demand for rhino horns in traditional Asian medicine.
Despite increased protection efforts at national parks like Kruger, South Africa witnessed the tragic loss of 448 rhinos last year, just three fewer than in 2021.
African Parks has now stepped in to take charge of this critical rhino breeding operation, spanning 7,800 hectares in the North West province, presently sheltering 15 percent of the world's remaining wild southern white rhino population.
Previously owned by 81-year-old South African conservationist John Hume, who aimed to find a billionaire successor, the farm faced great poaching risks without any takers.
Hume had poured approximately $150 million into his philanthropic mission to save the world's second-largest land mammal, with security and surveillance forming the farm's major expenses.
African Parks, a custodian of 22 protected areas across Africa, has outlined a comprehensive plan to reintroduce 2,000 southern white rhinos into the wild over the next decade.
The species, once on the brink of extinction in the late 19th century, has gradually rebounded due to sustained protection and breeding efforts.
The landmark acquisition marks a significant stride in rhino conservation, emphasising the urgency of safeguarding these magnificent creatures from the persistent threat of poaching in South Africa.