Why is the hunting industry so successful? Because it pours big money in to the hunting infrastructure.
Why is the real conservation community so helpless? Because it lacks money - the billions of dollars needed to buy the land and infrastructure needed to preserve natural functioning ecosystems.
Look at the money that hunters throw around. Foreign and local hunters directly and indirectly generated R6,2bn in revenue in 2010, environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa noted in her 2013/2014 budget vote speech.
Setting record prices has become the norm for SA's wildlife industry in its quest for the ultimate trophy animal i.e. the one with the biggest horns. These high prices account for a large part of the sales at wildlife auctions in SA rising from R60m in 2006 to R864m in 2012, a trend game-breeding players predict will continue.
At the forefront of soaring prices are what Wildlife Ranching SA (WRSA) terms "rare species". These include buffalo, sable antelope, roan antelope and Livingstone eland, which accounted for a combined R689m (80%) of sales in 2012. Average price rises since 2006 ranged from 270% for roan to 670% for buffalo.
Prices for cross-bred mutant antelope are impressive. Topping the list is a king wildebeest sold for R5,1m, the fourth-highest price achieved at a game auction. In sixth position is a gold wildebeest, sold for more than R1,8m. It does nothing for game conservation. More....