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SOS Rhino : In the News : Black rhinos set to steal the show at auction

Black rhinos set to steal the show at auction


June 18 2003 at 03:08AM

By Jill Gowans

Six black rhinos will be the star attraction at the 15th Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife annual game auction in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park on Saturday.

Two years ago, when this endangered species was last up for auction, a group of six was sold for R3,3-million - R550 000 each. Such is their conservation status that potential black rhino owners must have their properties inspected by KZN Wildlife staff before they can register as bidders.

Black rhinos can only be sold to South African game ranches as trade in the species between countries is banned under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites).

Forty white rhinos are on offer. Top price of R410 000 was paid last year for a female, while the average price was R237 500.

'We're hoping for a very good auction'

Forty-one nyala - which averaged R7 400 last year - are also among the animals already captured and being held in the bomas of the Centenary Centre in Umfolozi.

The prime purpose of the auction is as a management tool to dispose of surplus game following annual scientific evaluation of the animals in each park managed by KZN Wildlife.

But the auction also raises vital funds for the provincial conservation organisation, about 10 percent of operating costs. Last year R11,3-million was raised.

While buyers can view captured animals in the bomas before the auction, game is also sold off catalogue for later capture.

This year this includes most of the antelope like impala, blue wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck and other animals like warthog.

'Wildlife prices are depressed this year'

" We're hoping for a very good auction," said Jeff Gaisford of KZN Wildlife.

" But we're concerned about the drought in Limpopo where many of our buyers come from. Wildlife prices are depressed this year, judging from other auctions, but the quality of our game is superb and it always fetches top prices," Gaisford said.

* This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on June 18, 2003

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