Like it or not, hyenas play a crucial role in the amazing system we find ourselves a part of at Londolozi. They unfairly drag around a dark, sinister stereotype that labels them as scavengers, “bottom feeders” if you will. But there is so much more to their intricate society that we seldom get to see.
After recent forays into the west of the Sabi Sand the Majingilane have let up on some pressure. Pressure that had caused an entire shift in the hyena population in and around Londolozi. The hyenas simply adapted and moved to less densely populated lion areas. Now that the pressure is not as intense the hyenas are on their way back into the central parts of the reserve.
There has been some serious movement and the majority of the clan has left the den site off of Hobbit’s Hole road and found a new settling point. There was a lucky stage where, my tracker, Foster and I and were involved with the moving of cubs from one den to another. The den(marked by a green X) seemed active only for a day or maybe two and I believe it was a place to spend the day for the cubs to rest before permanently settling at the new den site off of Strip road.
This new den has provided some incredible viewing and has hyenas of many different ages interacting and showing a softer more affectionate side to these misunderstood predators. Particularly interesting for me over the last few weeks has been the emergence of a new young hyena from the depths of the burrows. We have watched the extremely nervous and protective mother relax and allow us to view her precious cub playing with the slightly older cubs around the den.
This new stronghold will be closely monitored and as the youngsters grow and mature so will their appetites. The instinctual drive to provide will force the large females to be more bold in their exploits, will we soon see more lion-hyena interaction or will they target the leopards?
In your opinion how accurate is the sinister hyena stereotype? Let us know your thoughts below!
Written and Photographed by Simon Smit
Filed under Wildlife
Awesome photos of the little ones. They are still so small. Gorgeous. Love hyenas. Thy are really misunderstood. They play a vital role in the eco system. If they didn’t clean the bush it will be full off disease. They are also great hunters. Fascinating to watch hyenas at a den.
At last, a positive article about hyenas. We know their contribution to the balance oof Nature is so important–and the babies are adorable!
There r the most common big predators in Africa & hold the most amount. While hunters love to kill lions especially the adult male lions that r in their prime for trophies , they ignore these predators which I think are hell lot harder to kill !
Because male lions are the ones who can protect their prides & guards their food from hyenas , with the taking of male lions in their prime , the balance is off within the areas which r given to big game killing.
May be that is why the hyenas is selous are the largest because only one per cent of the reserve is for photo safari !
In addition , because folks think killing a lion is so courageous & manly, villagers will spear lions to death in the name of retaliation
Of the lions predation on their cattle . In truth , lions only take less than 20% of livestock in sumburu . Naturally with such unfair prosecution of lions, hyenas there fair better . And in one country people there actually hand feed hyenas for tourism !
Your Londolozi blog brings something new and interesting every day. Thanks for the great writing, the valuable information, and the beautiful photography.
what wonderful shots that capture another kind of beauty and a precious form of life. I am also fond of dung beetles so I guess I am the odd man out. That isn’t to say that leopards don’t take my breath away! Then of course there are baby elephants et al……..
Thank you Simon for this interesting insight into their misunderstood lives. The fact that they only have 2 pups, shows they are not stupid, but sad when they give birth to more than 2. Your pictures are beautiful & yes the pups are so adorable. Have you seen the Wild Dog pups on your side yet?
Great post and photos. Leopards are my favorite animal but hyenas do get a bad rap. The big cats steal food from one another & other predators too, just like hyenas. Camp Pan Male is almost as bad as a hyena in that respect, but we love him! I think hyena vocalizations are a little unnerving for humans (that whooping “laughter” when ripping another animal to pieces). They serve an important purpose in African ecology and have their own beauty, if not as spectacular as a leopard IMO.
Well, I think there definitely is a general opinion that Hyenas are quite sinister, but it’s nice to see such wonderful photographs that show such a different side to them. The cubs are very cute and the mother is so attentive…very sweet to see.
Thank you all for the comments, I’m glad I’m not the only one that has a soft spot for these incredibly interesting carnivores. We hope to see a lot more of the cubs and give you an update on their growth in the near future!
Thank You for the Awesome photos Simon!!