“My name is John Hume, and my passion and mission in life is to save the rhino species from extinction, which I believe it is currently inexorably heading towards.”
John Hume, the world’s largest private rhino owner, is breeding and protecting over 1500 rhinos. After a very successful business career, his dream of retiring and settling down in the Bushveld of South Africa became a reality in 1992.
He semi-retired in Mpumalanga, where he began breeding the rare and endangered wildlife species on his game ranch. Besides from rhino, John Hume has also bred Roan and Sable antelope and other game species, and he had the largest TB-free buffalo breeding project in the country. He also had Black and White rhino, which sparked his passion for these gentle animals.
In 2007, three rhinos were poached on John’s ranch. This disaster led him to make the decision to trim the horns on the rest of the rhinos in an effort to protect them from poachers. However, poaching kept escalating in the country and, in late 2011 and early 2012, another six rhinos were poached on his ranch.
Before 2009, internal rhino horn trade was still legal in South Africa and poaching figures were minimal. People who chose to sell horn were able to do so without having to kill rhinos.
In 2012, John moved further inland with most of his rhinos – a massive operation – in a further bid to keep them safer. But the scourge continues. Over the past few years, more than 40 of his rhino have been poached. Even though this statistic is comparatively much better than the poaching count in the rest of South Africa, it is still devastating.
At the moment, the situation for rhinos is looking bleak and John is desperate to find a way to encourage people to keep breeding and protecting these animals, despite the immense risk of armed incursions that rhino owners face every day.