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Cape Town - A new South African record price of R40 million has been set for a single buffalo.
Rubin Els, general manager of Thaba Tholo, a reserve north of Thabazimbi in Limpopo, confirmed the sale of 10-year-old Mystery, on Wednesday night.
Mystery measures 1.34m high.
Another bull, Leba – he measures just under 1.16m but is only four years and four months old – was sold for R22.5m.
Both animals are Cape buffaloes and were sold to unnamed buyers from the Eastern Cape.
“You used to get animals as big as this out in the wild, but now they’ve disappeared,” Els said.
“But now we have the privilege and the ability to breed some of these animals back again by managing genetics in buffalo populations.”
Both the animals were free-roaming, “living in between leopard and lion”, said Els.
A total of 290 animals were sold at Wednesday’s auction for a total of R230m.
“It’s a long-term process; it’s no quick buck. It takes a lot of time and dedication by a staff of 96 people here,” Els said.
The previous record price for a buffalo bull was R26m, set last year, following the previous record of R18m two years ago.
Another top price fetched on Wednesday was for Wiele, a 1.27m Zambian sable bull, which sold for just more than R11m.
The creature was touted as “something special” with an “all-in-one package: black facial mask, horns, a large masculine body and attitude of note.
“A blue-blood, thoroughbred of pure genetic dynamite,” said the auction catalogue.
His grandsire was Nike, who sired the likes of Incredabull, Monster, Dinaka, Palanka and Nyala.
“A must-have for every serious breeder!” the reserve said earlier.
Thaba Tholo is owned by five South Africans, who were not named.