Alex Scapens, Cheshire Live | March 10, 2020
A millionaire is swapping a luxury lifestyle for war-torn Africa to track down a rhino species on the verge of extinction.
Paul Naden, 50, from Macclesfield, made his money in the financial industry and for the last decade has helped endangered species charity Saving the Survivors. This week he will embark on an ambitious expedition – travelling to South Sudan to try and find the northern white rhino.
The species was declared ‘functionally extinct’ in 2018 but it is hoped the region harbours a previously unknown population. If this is the case it will need finding, monitoring and protecting.
Paul explained: “In 2018 the last male northern was declared functionally extinct. The world was left with only two old females, unable to reproduce but there is possibly a second chance to save this species. “Rumours and whisperings from South Sudan of sightings of the animal in the wild and reports of rhino tracks have re-ignited the hope for the future of the northern white rhino.
“There has been no survey or study of South Sudan’s wildlife in over a decade and no comprehensive search has ever taken place until now.
“This is one final and comprehensive search for any remaining northern white rhino in the wild. I am incredibly excited to be involved and if we succeed, it gives us fresh hope of saving it.”
Paul, who joined Macclesfield-based HFS Loans in 1989 and was managing director 10 years later, is part-funding the expedition. He will be followed by BBC camera crews who are making a one-hour documentary entitled The Last Unicorn. His team will also include a vet and security expert as the region has seen conflict and civil war for the past 20 years.
Doug Hope, a BBC executive producer, said: “It is a long shot, there is no denying that, but there are rumours of them out there, and in a place that is so remote, so unexplored.
“Yet, from what our sources are telling us, it remains prime rhino habitat, so surely there is still a chance.
“Until this search is carried out we can’t close the book on the northern white rhino.”
Previously Paul has been on a trek across the Serengeti to raise money for an anti-poaching campaign.