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Africa’s Beleaguered Rhinos have been Thrown a Significant Lifeline

African Parks, a private Johannesburg-based conservation NGO that manages 22 protected areas in partnership with 12 governments across Africa, confirmed on Monday, 4 September that it had “stepped in as the new owner of the world’s largest private captive rhino breeding operation”, the Platinum Rhino project, a 7,800-hectare property in North West. African Parks – without disclosing any of the financial arrangements of the deal – said it had agreed to purchase the farm and all 2,000 southern white rhino with one clear objective: “To rewild these rhino over the next 10 years to well-managed and secure areas, establishing or supplementing strategic populations, thereby de-risking the future of the species”. The project was started by Hume, a wealthy property developer turned wildlife rancher who has earned both opprobrium and praise for his decades-old initiative to breed rhinos, harvest their horns without harming them physically and then sell the horns to buyers in the Far East.