African Parks, associated with Prince Harry, has acquired the world’s largest rhino farm, the 7,800-hectare Platinum Rhino farm in South Africa, which houses 2,000 white rhinos. The farm’s founder, wealthy businessman John Hume, had put it up for auction due to the high costs of conservation efforts, putting the rhinos at risk of poaching.
African Parks, with support from the South African government and conservation groups, stepped in to secure the future of these animals. Hume, 81, had opened the farm in 2009 but faced significant financial challenges, having spent $150 million on rhino conservation.
The lack of buyers for the farm raised concerns about poaching threats. African Parks, which did not disclose the purchase price, felt “morally obliged to find a solution for these declining wild animals,” according to CEO Peter Fearnhead.
South Africa is home to nearly 80% of the world’s white rhino population, estimated at less than 13,000. Poaching, driven by Asian demand for rhino horn, remains a serious issue, with 448 rhinos killed in the country in 2022, despite anti-poaching efforts.
The price of rhino horn on the black market rivals that of gold, reaching up to $60,000 per kilogram, leading poachers to target private parks. African Parks’ intervention aims to protect these vulnerable rhinos and support their conservation.