Three years ago I met John Hume who has been dubbed the worlds largest rhino breeder. I saw first hand how he runs his farm and had an opportunity to talk to him for hours and meet some of the happy rhino on his farm.
Early the next day we met some of his orphans and it broke my heart when I saw these cute little bouncy beasts. These poor little animals face an uncertain future, while most of the world couldn’t give a shit, some are intent on killing them and those who are committed to saving them can’t seem to agree how, and all these little animals want to do is live.
Since my visit, over 3000 more rhinos have been killed by poachers, and John has simply dug deeper into his own pocket, spending around R5million a month to keep his project going. Many people fail to see the significance of this breeding project and its contribution and vilify him for believing that a legal trade in rhino horn is the best chance of beating poachers.
With 1500 rhinos he has more than Botswana and Kenya combined. With 1154 newborn rhino on his farm, He has brought more rhino into the world than what poachers are killing in a year. I challenge you to find a person or group today who can claim to contribute more.
Yet, so-called conservation groups have vilified John for his stance on legal trade. These groups accuse John of greed and being in it for himself. I know this to be complete nonsense. I shudder to think how much of his own money he has put into saving rhino without making a profit, yet these non-profit groups have who been raking in the donor funds all the time.
Can these organizations and people not put their dogma aside and compromise for the good of the rhino and in the interests of conservation efforts? If we are going to save the rhino, we need to do something different, and the key is to make rhino worth more alive than dead.
The current scenario favors criminals and punishes people who are trying to help.
I am sick and tired of seeing pictures of dead and mutilated rhino and deeply saddened by the behavior of certain people/groups who continue to divide efforts to save rhinos. How many more rhinos have to die while we stand divided? How many more rhinos have to die before we realize that we have to do something different?