Saturday, 16 Oct 2021

Tycoon finds happiness after ditching lavish lifestyle to save endangered rhinos

A tycoon ditched his pampered lifestyle to save endangered rhinos.

For years Paul Naden, 50, enjoyed fast cars and holidays in exotic locations such as St Tropez and the Seychelles.

But after visiting Africa and seeing the difference wildlife charities were making, he was inspired to change his life.

And he’s never been happier.

Paul sold his mortgage and loans firm to finance giant Capital One for £25million in 2004. Since then he has devoted his time and money to helping anti-poaching and conservation charities.

He said: “I have been incredibly fortunate in life, so I just want to make a difference in preserving our world. We need to protect our wildlife for future generations.

“I’ve had friends and family say I am mad to be doing this. I could have an easy life at home, but this is something I care deeply about.”

Paul works with two wildlife charities. He set up Project Red himself and works closely with Saving The Survivors. Both are battling to protect rare animals.

His latest expedition saw him heading to South Sudan in a bid to save the northern white rhino – one of the most endangered species in the world.

Rhinos are targeted by poachers who hack off their horns to make traditional medicines for buyers in the Far East.

The northern white rhino was declared extinct in 2018 as the only two left are both female. But there have since been reported sightings in the wild.

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Paul said: “The world was left with only two old females, unable to reproduce.

“But we have now possibly been given 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 reignited the hope for the future of the northern white rhino.”

Paul, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, is putting his life on the line by going to South Sudan. The region has been ravaged by war for two decades, with hundreds of thousands of people killed.

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The UN still rates it a “high risk” country and it has no electricity, power grid, phone networks or internet.

Paul is travelling alongside wildlife cameraman Vianet Djenguet, vet Johan Marais and security expert

Aldo Kane. He said: “I’m going to Sudan with colleagues from Saving The Survivors and an expert team to try and track it down.

“There has been no survey or study of South Sudan’s wildlife in over a decade and no comprehensive search has ever taken place.

“This is one final and comprehensive search for any remaining northern white rhino in the wild.

“I am incredibly excited to be involved in the search for this beautiful species.

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“If we succeed it gives us fresh hope of saving it. The work we are doing is so important.”

No film crews have been allowed access to the area for almost a decade.

But Paul’s trip will feature in a new BBC show – The Last Unicorn.

He said: “It would be incredible to find the last surviving male northern white

rhino and preserve the species for future generations.

“The search for the northern white rhino is just part of what we do. There are

hundreds of endangered species. We have got to act now before it is too late.”

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