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

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

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