Disease-free buffalo from the Karoo and Camdeboo National Parks fetched top prices at the Kirkwood Wildlife Auction held in the Eastern Cape in June.
"We earned R500 000 for a buffalo cow and calf pair which is a record price for South African National Parks and for the Kirkwood Auction," said Addo Elephant National Park manager Norman Johnson.
The buffalo, which originally came from Addo Elephant National Park's buffalo herd, are traditionally much sought-after as breeding stock due to the absence of diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, corridor disease and foot-and-mouth disease in the herd.
Addo Elephant National Park is home to the largest disease-free buffalo herd in South Africa. The top price earned for a family group of SANParks buffalo on the auction was R280 000 per buffalo, while sales of black wildebeest and red hartebeest bulls from Mountain Zebra National Park reached R3 700 and R3 300 respectively.
"We sold 17 red hartebeest bulls and 15 black wildebeest bulls from Mountain Zebra NP and 22 buffalo - bulls, cows and some calves," says Megan Tapin, communications manager for the SANParks Frontier region.
SANParks made over R8.99 million on the auction while the total auction earnings reached over R10.3 million. Proceeds of the sale of SANParks wildlife on the game auction are channelled into SANParks' Park Development Fund, a fund used to expand and develop the national park system across the country.
Kirkwood Wildlife Festival chairman, Johan Swart, said that the Kirkwood Wildlife Auction is now the second largest auction in the country and this year attracted a record 89 registered buyers from all over South Africa. This was the ninth auction. Last year 22 buffalo as well as eland bulls and four family herds of the endangered Cape mountain zebra came under the hammer.