hyena flooring

Hyenas are in all likelihood one of the maximum misunderstood species on the planet – their function within the herbal surroundings is omitted and they may be often regarded as a ‘pest’.

Yet they’re charming animals and, like each different species, carry out important roles in their environment. Without them, the panorama would be transformed, for the more serious.

Although many might not realise it, human beings depend upon hyenas as nicely.


Hyenas undoubtably have a complex relationship with human beings. In an surroundings which includes lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, giraffe and plenty of different emblematic species, hyenas can get forgotten.

They are not the maximum placing, the maximum fashionable or the maximum mind-blowing searching animal – their short hindquarters and sloping backs give them a really awkward gait and their chattering, laughing calls can sound unnerving.  

Sadly, in lots of elements of the sector they’re a fairly unloved animal, an attitude exacerbated by means of their portrayal in popular culture (think of the way the 3 hyenas are depicted in Disney’s Lion King). Across elements of their variety, hyenas have been associated with witchcraft, frequently main to them being feared or disliked through neighborhood people. 

If you kind ‘Why are hyenas…’ into a search engine, the endorsed searches consist of ‘so unsightly’, ‘so risky’, ‘so hated’ and ‘so merciless’, in reality demonstrating the terrible attitudes society may have closer to hyenas. By comparison, when searching ‘Why are lions…’, the endorsed searches include ‘the king of the jungle’ and ‘so crucial’. 


Our mindset closer to hyena is extremely unjust. Hyenas have equally exciting behaviours and ecology as lions, leopards, or cheetahs. There are 4 regarded species inside the specific Hyaenidae own family – noticed hyenas, striped hyenas, brown hyenas, and aardwolves.

Whereas noticed and brown hyena are sociable, dwelling in own family devices referred to as ‘clans’, striped hyenas and aardwolves tend to stay solitarily or in pairs. Clans are tremendously territorial, focused around an underground den wherein cubs are raised, and individuals of the clan meet to re-establish their bonds.

Clans are matrilineal societies, led via an alpha-lady, much like elephants but interestingly pretty in contrast to other carnivores. Hyena cubs are strangely depending on their moms for milk – possibly because kills are typically made some distance away from the den – suckling for among 12 to 18 months, longer than maximum different carnivores.

Cubs are looked after by using babysitters, generally a near relative, while their mother is out hunting, and that they be part of their mothers on scavenging and looking journeys once they may be a yr vintage.


However, for people that live alongside them, hyenas can pose a real threat to their livelihoods.

Despite being nicely known as scavengers, hyenas in fact hunt the bulk of their prey and, whilst wild prey turns into scarce, hyenas, like many other carnivores, may additionally flip to farm animals. Livestock predation is a large issue in landscapes including Amboseli and Meru, Kenya, wherein Born Free has been operating our personal conservation tasks for the reason that 2010 and 2014 respectively.

In those two landscapes, hyenas often cause extra than 1/2 of all predation occasions by way of carnivores. Speaking with neighborhood people really tells this story – while you ask which animal they recollect the maximum tricky you continuously pay attention fisi – Swahili for hyena. As with lions, hyenas finally can become victims to retaliatory killings, frequently by means of poisoning. 

Contrary to struggle among people and lions, there was tons much less attention paid to human-hyena battle, so the impact of retaliatory killing on their populations is much less well understood.

Despite being classified as Least Concern via the IUCN*, populations of spotted hyena, the maximum commonplace hyena species, are declining, with fewer than 50,000 estimated to stay across the African continent.


Losing hyenas inside the panorama could have catastrophic effects. As predators, hyenas assist to save you over-population of herbivore species which includes waterbuck. This prevents overgrazing of grasslands, benefitting all species in the landscape.  

Hyenas have one of the most powerful jaws when it comes to their length of any carnivore, that means that they can crush and devour bones left unutilised by way of different predators.

Their scavenging behaviour also plays a important position for humans and livestock – hyenas are regularly described as the ‘cleaners of the panorama’ because they eliminate carcasses, and this enables to save you the spread of diseases which include anthrax. Without hyenas, grasslands ought to grow to be overpopulated and disorder normal.

It is really time hyenas have been shown more appreciation! 


Before we are able to desire for a alternate in mindset of neighborhood people closer to hyenas, we should empower those humans to humanely shield their cattle, allowing coexistence with this ‘difficult’ animal.

Many of Born Free’s struggle mitigation techniques do not solely prevent struggle with lions – they’re also effective at preventing hyena predation on livestock.

Hyenas are especially shrewd animals, and frequently discover a weak spot in traditional ‘bomas’ (cattle enclosures), but Born Free’s reinforced, predator-evidence bomas in Amboseli have helped prevent even the maximum determined hyenas from entering into.  

To make a predator-proof bomas ‘hyena-evidence’, we bury chain-hyperlink fencing deep into the ground, stopping hyenas from digging their manner in – their common tactic to get into bomas. Furthermore, our current trials of predator-deterrent lighting in Meru have also been nicely acquired through local pastoralists.

They report that, wherein they had often experienced hyena predation formerly, since the lighting have been set up, they have now not lost any cattle. One livestock owner advised us that when hyenas lately visited at night, they turned around his dwelling house before leaving without a kill.  

This is an essential first step in achieving coexistence and proper news that a lot of Born Free’s modern-day human-lion battle mitigation strategies additionally appear to be effective at stopping hyena predation. Nevertheless, we are able to retain to search for easy and modern answers to deal with struggle with hyenas in these landscapes. 

Hyenas aren’t merciless, unclean, or unpleasant – they may be distinctly clever, with complex social structures and play an important function inside the environment. They deserve the honor and appreciation given to their fellow predators and need to be able to stay without the threat of persecution.

In an an increasing number of human-ruled international, we should attempt to obtain harmonious coexistence with all species, which includes those traditionally taken into consideration ‘pests’. 

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