• Ten hyenas have been sold for R26,000 each at a game auction.
  • There hasn't been much demand for the "problem animals" in the past, but farmers are starting to acknowledge their role in wilderness reserves.
  • They help stop diseases from spreading – and that is worth money.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

An opportunistic killer with an eerie laugh, the hyena is traditionally the unloved creep of the wild.

But game farmers are starting to see their value: ten hyenas have just fetched R26,000 each at the Kirkwood Wildsfees game auction in the Eastern Cape, reports Landbou.com.

The animals will be relocated from the Addo Elephant Park.

Read: A video of a hyena cackling with delight while being tickled has gone viral

Garth Saville, a representative from the auction, says there has not been any notable demand for hyenas at auctions in the past, as they were considered "problem animals." 

However, farmers have now started to comprehend the important function of these animals in the environment, and the crucial role they play in game reserves.

According to National Geographic, hyenas help to control prey populations and prevent the spread of disease, as they eat every last bit of an animal.

Read: Shocking must-see videos of SA wildlife - from hippos flattening cars to lions popping tyres

The Kirkwood auction achieved sales of R5.2 million this year - compared to R4.6 million last year. Landbou reports that a buffalo cow with a 38-inch (97cm) horn span, and her calf, fetched the top price of R300,000.

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