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word "auction" usually conjures up images of priceless art, fine wines or celebrity memorabilia. It rarely makes us think of near-threatened species of rhinoceros. However, those rich enough to splash out in excess of $10 million can bid for 1,993 white rhinos on May 1st, which is International Save Rhino Day. majestic beasts are being sold by multi-millionaire conservationist John Hume, South African entrepreneur. He started rhino breeding project with about 200 animals 30 years ago. He managed to increase his stock of animals ten-fold. Mr Hume is also selling 8,500-hectare ranch 100 miles south-east of Johannesburg where rhinos live.

Mr Hume's ranch is home to more than 10 per cent of world's total rhino population. Hume has spent $150 million of his personal fortune on increasing rhino numbers, but can no longer afford to maintain creatures. His expenses include vets' bills, security guards to keep poachers at bay and helicopter for air patrols. He told reporters: "I've used all my life savings spending on that population of rhinos for 30 years and I finally ran out of money. I'm hoping that there is millionaire that would rather save population of rhinos from extinction than own super-yacht." Hume lamented that: "Rhinos are underdogs. They stand least chance of surviving poaching."

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