5-speed listening (White Rhinos - Level 6)

2,000 near-threatened white rhinos to be auctioned



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The word "auction" usually conjures up images of priceless art, fine wines or celebrity memorabilia. It rarely makes us think of a 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 the 1st, which is International Save the Rhino Day. The majestic beasts are being sold by multi-millionaire conservationist John Hume, a South African entrepreneur. He started a rhino breeding project with about 200 animals 30 years ago. He managed to increase his stock of the animals ten-fold. Mr Hume is also selling the 8,500-hectare ranch 100 miles south-east of Johannesburg where the rhinos live.

Mr Hume's ranch is home to more than 10 per cent of the 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 the creatures. His expenses include vets' bills, security guards to keep poachers at bay and a 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 a millionaire that would rather save the population of rhinos from extinction than own a super-yacht." Hume lamented that: "Rhinos are underdogs. They stand the least chance of surviving poaching."

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