A sable antelope (Hippotragus niger kirkii) bull was sold for R3 million at the annual Gravelotte game auction, held in the Selati Game Reserve in Limpopo, South Africa on Saturday October 4, 2008.Gravelotte-based farmer Piet Warren made the world record sale, with Kobus du Toit clinching the bid. When asked about his motivation for the purchase, Kobus said it is "for my son, who breeds with the best stock."
The price exceeded Warren's wildest expectations. He believes this auction will be "a tremendous boost for the wildlife industry in South Africa". Earlier Hannes Maree had sold a sable antelope bull, aged seven years, to Frans Schutte for R1.4 million.Veteran auctioneer, Willie Roux of Vleissentraal, says this was an exceptional auction with a turnover of almost R23 million (unverified at the time of going to press). The stock in pens generated about R19.5 million and catalogue sales reached about R3.5 million. Close to 100 buyers, some from as far as Namibia, registered at the auction.
About 200 sable antelope, as well as a number of white rhino and buffalo came under the hammer. According to the Sable Study Group chairman, Andre Scholtz, the number of sable auctioned represented about half the number of the entire sable antelope population in the lowveld in 1986.Members from the Limpopo department of economic affairs and tourism were on site to ensure all the required permits were in place before any of the animals were moved to their new destinations.