By Aphiew Ngwenya
It took Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife just 30 minutes to sell 20 white rhinos, five lions and other animals for more than R8-million at a game auction in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park on Monday. A female white rhino fetched a record R550 000. Last year a rhino and calf were sold together for R560 000.
Ezemvelo KZN chief executive Bandile Mkhize described the auction as the most successful in 10 years.
“We had hoped to make R15m in this year’s auctions, and we have exceeded that by over R5m,” said Mkhize.
The first auction held at Sibaya Casino raked in more than R13.5m. Monday’s sale brought in just over R8m.
The 90 other animals that were auctioned included nyala, white rhino, hippo, lion and buffalo.
The auctions, which happen twice a year, help maintain the ecological carrying capacity of the parks.
“If one reserve can only hold 100 elephants, once you exceed that they need to be sold off. Otherwise too many start feeding off the other animals,” says Musa Mntambo, Ezemvelo KZN spokesperson.
The animals have been sold off to other private game reserves, with all proceeds going to Ezemvelo to help with the upkeep of various parks.
Bidder Ishwar Ramlutchman, who bought three nyalas at an average of R5 600, said the rhino prices seemed high.
“There is a huge demand out there for rhino, and it is good they are being sold off to keep a balance in the parks,” he said.
The animals were sourced from various Ezemvelo parks around KZN. All the lions were from Tembe Elephant Park.