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    Friday, May 5, 2023

    South Africa: An Uncertain Future for 12,5% of World's White Rhinos

    Andre van Wyk

    Negotiations between the Platinum Rhino Project (PRP) and parties interested in housing what amounts to an eighth of the world's white rhino population will be held on May 5, Bloomberg reports, after an auction of a ranch where the animals currently reside failed to attract firm bids. Multimillionaire and PRP founder John Hume started the breeding initiative nearly 30 years ago with only 200 animals, a feat described by many scientists as a conservation success story.

    Hume, who hopes a "billionaire" will make a successful bid, said that he would be forced to sell the 8,500 hectare ranch and the 2,000 endangered rhinos that reside there "piecemeal" should no successful sale be made.

    According to the Daily Maverick, piecemeal sales of the animals would be a difficult, uncertain process. This is due to high rates of attacks by poachers which make rhino ownership a big liability to many private game farmers in the country, particularly in the face of rising securirty costs.

    Illegal killings of rhinos peaked in in 2014 when over 1,200 animals were slaughtered. This was followed by a drought in 2015 which had a critical effect on wildlife in the Kruger National Park. Hume's animals are southern white rhino, one of two subspecies. The other, the northern white rhino, is virtually extinct.

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