South Africa’s rhino are in grave danger – but they can be saved providing South Africans from all walks of life become involved.
Having bred 1 632 rhino in captivity during his lifetime and invested more than US$100-million of his own money into the project, John Hume of Buffalo Dream Ranch has reached his financial limit and, unless there is public participation the dream could fade away.
Buffalo Dream Ranch (BDR) is the world’s largest Captive Rhino Breeding Project and is hidden away in the flat, dry savanna of the North West Province of South Africa.
BDR was founded and funded entirely by John, now 76, and the project recently celebrated the birth of its first ‘F2’, or second generation, rhino calf on the project which is an outstanding achievement for any breeding operation.
More than 300 of their dams (females) are pregnant right now, and due to give birth over the next 18 months, many more of which will be ‘F2’s’. This equates to close to 10% of the world’s remaining White Rhinos.
BDR’s mission is simple. It is ‘To Breed Better and Protect Better’ in their attempt to move this iconic species away from extinction. They hope this financial year to eventually meet their breeding target of 200 calves per annum.
However, John has now finally reached the end of his financial wherewithal to continue protecting these rhinos. This cash flow crisis they find themselves in has caused BDR to give notice of termination to the private army of foot soldiers who protect their rhino, as they can no longer afford their services.
In fact, as soon as August this year, there will be no money left to even fund the day-to-day operation of the project, leaving the future of nearly 2 000 rhino in severe jeopardy.
John has always maintained that key to the success of BDR and, in fact, to saving the rhino from extinction, is legalised trade in rhino horn. BDR routinely trim horns primarily to render their rhino less attractive to poachers.
They currently hold a stockpile of 6,5 tons of horn in vaults around South Africa, which if valued at the reported wholesale price of US$20 000 a kg, amounts to US$130-million.
Imagine how much ‘good’ all this money could do for the conservation of African rhino, if only it was released into the pockets of legitimate rhino owners, instead of lining the pockets of criminals! Sadly though, the CITES ban on international trade persists and the South African Government continue to hamper the sale of horn in our domestic market, so the BDR project finds itself in this very difficult financial situation. It should also be noted that BDR has, to date, not received a single cent of support from any Government, NGO or Charity throughout their journey.
There are a number of alternative initiatives currently underway which, with the help of an impassioned public, might just be able to steer BDR through their cashflow crisis, and secure the future of nearly 2 000 rhinos. These include:
1) Search for one or more partners – Probably the most viable solution is for John to find one or more wealthy impact investors with a passion for conservation of rhino, and a recognition of the potential for returns through trade in horn.
He is ready to sell up to 50% of his BDR Captive Breeding Operation (CBO) to secure the future of his rhino. These partners would then work together with John to continue lobbying both the South African Government and CITES to ease up the horn trade environment and deliver BDR to sustainability through a legal and sustainable trade in horn.
A search for these illusive benefactors is currently underway, and BDR would be grateful if any party interested, and in a position to provide the required investment, would make urgent contact.
2) Rhino Coin – The second initiative is the recently launched, and still relatively unknown Rhino Coin. This is an innovative new proudly South African Crypto-Conservation initiative that issues 1 Rhino Coin for every 1g of ethically sourced blood-free horn secured in vaults in South Africa. See https://www.rhinocoin.com/ for more details of how you can get involved.
A Foundation has been established by Rhino Coin to ensure proceeds go directly back to real live rhinos on the ground. Rhino Coin is currently tradable against ZAR, Bitcoin and Ethereum, and can be traded on the CornuEx exchange.
3) Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign – The final initiative is a direct appeal to the hearts and minds of a very generous public for donations through and Indiegogo Campaign which can be found here http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-protect-rhinos-from-poachers-security-community.
Funds from this campaign will go directly towards the implementation of a state-of-the-art early warning electronic security system which will significantly cut BDR’s monthly running costs and allow them to continue the good work they are doing breeding rhino.
As Robert Swan, the first man to walk to both Poles, once said: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”.