High Price Paid for Long Horned Rhino

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    High Price Paid for Long Horned Rhino

    Almost R400 000 was paid for a particularly long horned white rhino at the annual Eastern Cape Parks’ game auction near Grahamstown on Saturday.

    But, the chances of this impressive female living to a ripe old age appear slim thanks to the obscene amounts of money trophy hunters are prepared to pay to shoot a white rhino with a one metre-long horn.

    While the world reels under the weight of a recession, some serious chunks of change were flying around in the bush at Thomas Baines as everybody, from hunt operators to butchers and even conservationists, got in on the act.

    Eastern Cape Parks scientific services head Dr Dave Balfour told the Dispatch the animals with the most impressive attributes often fetched top dollar among hunters while animals like the 200 black wildebeest that sold for R900 each to a single buyer would “probably end up as biltong in six weeks’ time”.

    “Generally the bigger horns are for hunting,” he said.

    “This is the fourth auction in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal this year and yet we got the highest prices for rhino so far. There may be a recession, but we still got good prices and sold everything.”

    Another hot seller were disease- free buffalo that fetched R140 000 each.

    And while the five longest horned white rhinos probably will not escape the cross hairs when they sold for between R370 000 and R395000 each, the two for the price of one deals of between R320 000 and R360 000 for mother and calf combinations seemed like a good buy for game reserve breeding stock.

    At R120 000 each, the two entry level “sub adult” white rhinos were obviously not endowed enough to properly “give it horns yet, boet” – to steal a phrase from laugh a minute auctioneer Roy “Choem” Hayes.

    “Built like a buffalo” – by his own admission – after 30 years in the game, Hayes is so slick he could sell oil to an Arab.

    “One fiddy, one fiddy, one fiddy,” he raps, before doing a disco shuffle on the stage – skilfully boosting the price beyond R160 000.

    “If I want to take R400 000 out of a person’s pocket, I have to make him feel happy. Three auctions ago my trousers came down and I just carried on selling … it is all part of the entertainment.”

    A born entertainer, when he is not wooing buyers with his banter, Hayes runs a taxidermist business in Tarkastad.

    “Sometimes strangers come up to me and they thank me for making them laugh. I normally stutter when I speak – but never when I am auctioning,” he chuckles.

    According to Balfour, the animals came from eight nature reserves in the province and were part of a broader plan to manage the areas “according to sound ecological principles”.

    “We want to remove all alien animals from our nature reserves because of the unknown biodiversity consequences of the way they interact with the indigenous plants as well as other animals.”

    Although Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf Rory Kockott bought some red hartebeest for the Ecca Pass Hunting Safaris he has a share in, he assured the Dispatch they would not end up as trophies.

    With Eastern Cape Parks having a reputation for only auctioning the best condition animals, Kockott said the prices fetched showed “quality is king” – especially when it came to building up breeding stocks.

    “I may play for the Sharks, but I grew up in East London. The Eastern Cape is home … I always enjoy coming here and spending time in the bush.” - by David MacGregor, Port Alfred Bure.


    Source: dispatch.co.za

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