>> The South African court has approved a legal auction of over half a ton of rhino horn. A controversial move in a country that's spent years battling poachers, who've killed thousands of the animals. That's a according to a lawyer for this man, John Hume, who owns the world's largest private herd, 1,500 rhinos, Reuters visited his ranch last year.
He believes that by legally auctioning off some of their horns, which grow back if removed with care while they're alive, he can help offset some of the black market demand.>> We are losing the war, we have to change our tactics.>> South Africa is home to the world's largest population of rhinos.
One species nearly went extinct last century before it was saved by conservation efforts. But recent years have seen a surge in killings, flying to a record high of over 1,200 in 2014. It's driven by demand in Vietnam and China, where the horns are seen as a status symbol, and also used in traditional medicine.
Hume's sale was initially blocked by the South African government until the court intervened. And some environmental groups have protested it, saying the auction legitimizes demand for the horn, in turn emboldening poachers. National park rangers in the country seen here, have already been turned into a paramilitary force in an effort to stop them.
Hume expects his auction to commence this week.