New venue doesn’t hamper Ezemvelo auction

Despite a major change of venue for this year’s recent world-renowned Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Annual Game Auction drawing mixed reactions from buyers, the event was considered a major success after generating R9,04 million for KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial conservation organisation.
Issue Date 8 June 2007

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For nearly two decades, the auction has been held near the game capture bomas of Ezemvelo’s flagship game reserve, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (HIP), in northern Zululand, but in a cost-­cutting decision made last year, Ezemvelo management decided to hold this year’s auction at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom just north of Durban.

The move allegedly saved the organisation approximately R250 000, although buyers and visitors to the auction were not easily able to visit the capture bomas and see first-hand some of the game on sale. Hedge Auctioneers said that the bidding was brisk, with white rhinos selling at an average price of R172 868. Diminutive dassies went for an impressive average of R370 each, with one lot going for a whopping R450.

According to Ezemvelo spokesperson, Jeff Gaisford, hippos fetched on average R28 800, with one going for R31 000. “While some of our buyers praised the auction’s move to Sibaya Casino, others said that they preferred the atmosphere of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park venue,” Gaisford said. “This year, buyers who wanted to inspect the animals in the HIP bomas before bidding on them were given the opportunity of doing this the day before the auction.”

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Ezemvelo’s CEO Khulani Mkhize said that his organisation was quite satisfied with the outcome of this year’s auction, and added that he was very pleased that the white rhinos sold on behalf of the Ezemvelo-supported Makhasa Community Conservation Reserve near Mkhuze brought in R320 000 that will be ploughed back into this community reserve. Gaisford said that buyers still rated the quality of the animals offered on sale as the best in SA. However, Ezemvelo said that it planned on holding a buyer survey to determine whether or not to keep the auction at Sibaya. – Lloyd Phillips