Photographer: Richard Du Toit/Getty Images

Hercules the Antelope Sells for Record $692,000 at Auction

  • Sale price more than three times the previous record
  • South Arica game ranching industry growing at 10% a year

The sale of a greater Kudu bull, a type of antelope prized by hunters, more than tripled a previous record at a game auction in northern South Africa going for a price of 9.4 million rand ($692,000).

The animal known as Hercules is about 12 years old, with spiral horns of more than 66 inches (1.7 meters) long, and was bought by a group of game farmers from the Thabazimbi area, 235 kilometers (146 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, according to the seller, Dries Visser of Dries Visser Pure-Bred Game. The previous record for a kudu bull was 2.4 million rand.

“If he is looked after, he can still be used for breeding for about three years,” Visser said by phone on Monday. “He was bought solely for his blood and genetics.”

Driven by growing demand from international hunters for exotic and large horned animals, South Africa’s game ranching industry is worth close to 12 billion rand a year and is growing at about 10 percent annually, according to Barclays Africa Group Ltd.

Mystery, a tuberculosis-free buffalo with a 53-inch horn span, was bought for 40 million rand by a group including billionaire Johann Rupert in 2013, while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa sold three white-flanked impala antelope for 27.3 million rand last September. Other breeds fetching high prices include golden gnus, where a recessive gene gives the normally blue-black wildebeest a yellowish coat, and sable antelope.

Greater kudu have white striped coats and can weigh as much as 600 pounds (272 kilograms).

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