The Eastern Cape Parks and and Tourism Agency made almost R5-million when it auctioned off more than 300 wild animals at the Fish River Sun Hotel near Port Alfred on Saturday.
R4.4-million will be invested back in state game reserves while some money was donated to the Likhayalethu Communal Property Association, SA Wildlife College and the ECPTA’s provincial people and parts forum for the educational benefit of children who live around the nature reserves.
The reserves have reduced their animal population in a “bid to conserve biodiversity within the Eastern Cape’s protected areas”.
While the agency’s chairwoman Vuyo Zitumane and economic development, environmental affairs and tourism MEC Sakhumzi Somyo said they were happy with the auction, the money raised is down from last year’s R6.8-million.
The auctioned animals included buffalo, zebra, bontebok, hartebeest, wildebeest and springbok from the state-owned Tsolwana, Mpofu, Great Fish, Oviston and Baviaanskloof game reserves.
The highest bid of the day was R111000 for a four-year-old female buffalo from Baviaanskloof with 65cm horns.
The sale’s proceedings were donated towards training ECPTA’s internal staff.
Zitumane said they were happy with the turnout.
“About 95% of the stock was sold and that helps us as we reinvest the money in our reserves. The money is used for the infrastructure and the wellbeing of the animals.
“The reality is with the economic recession and what is happening, people are not investing much in game, so we thought the numbers would decline, but from what we have seen I think it was a very good turnout,” she said.
By donating back to the communities the agency is trying to avoid challenges like poaching, as communities are expected to protect the facilities.
Mxolisi Ngesi of the Likhayalethu Communal Property Association said the association had received R275000 last year. They received R113000 on Saturday.
“We are not disappointed by this because we understand that the value of the buffalo is not the same as it was last year,” said Ngesi.
Somyo said: “Well I’m happy under the conditions because the environment is harsh. We are emerging from a drought. I think the auctioneer could also suck more from the buyers.”