African Hyena: Is an African Most Common Large Carnivore. There are three species of hyena the spotted, brown, and striped Hyena. Spotted hyenas are the largest of the three.
Also, they are fairly large in build and have relatively short torsos with lower hindquarters, and sloping backs. They have excellent night-time vision and hearing.
Social hierarchies and the ability to fit in with the crowd are an important part of a spotted hyena’s life from birth. These carnivores live in groups called clans, which are dominated by an alpha female and her relatives, and a pup’s social position is inherited from its mother.
Females give birth to pups in Isolation, then 2 – 6 Weeks later they transfer them to communal dens that are shared with several other mothers. Although Pups in shared dens sometimes attempt to suckle from females other than their mother, but the females are usually aware of such attempts and actively discourage any pups that are trying to steal from them.
The communal dens serve as a social hub for the clan, and nonbreeders will often drop by to check up on their clan mates. This means that the pups are integrated into the clan’s social structure and know their place in the pecking order from a very early age.
SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION OF AFRICAN HYENA.
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The Scientific Name of Hyena’s are.
- Crocuta Crocuta (Spotted Hyena),
- Hyaena Hyaena (Striped Hyena),
- Parahyaena Brunnea (Brown Hyena).
- ABOUT 35 TO 80 KILOGRAMS (77 TO TO 176 POUNDS).
- 95 TO 150 CENTIMETERS IN LENGTH (37 TO 60 INCHES); 75 TO 85 CENTIMETERS AT THE SHOULDER (30 TO 33 INCHES)
- SAVANNAS, GRASSLANDS, WOODLANDS, FOREST EDGES, SUB DESERTS AND MOUNTAINS UP TO 4,000 METERS (13,000 FEET)
- UP TO 20 YEARS IN THE WILD AND 25 YEARS IN CAPTIVITY
Challenges Facing African Hyena.
1. Humans Are Encroaching On Hyenas’ Habitats.
As human populations expand and growth of agriculture, settlements, and roads results, wildlife is losing space in which it was previously able to roam freely.
2. Conflict is a major Threat to hyenas.
Like many carnivores, hyenas come into conflict with humans when they prey on livestock. They are often seen as a pest species, which often results in retaliatory killings by farmers especially by poisoning.
Solutions to the Challenges.
Employ scientific research.
African Wildlife Foundation’s researchers are working to gain an understanding of large carnivores’ including hyenas’ populations, behaviors, movements, and interactions with people to develop appropriate conservation actions.
Since 2002, the Large Carnivore Research Project has undertaken Research aimed at ensuring the continued survival of large predators living around Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Proactively mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
Retaliation is the primary reason for hyena killings. We work with communities to help them construct bomas livestock enclosures that protect livestock from predators and ultimately mitigates human-wildlife conflict.
Behaviors of African Hyena.
Hyenas are not picky Eaters.
These carnivores are one of Africa’s top predators; however, there is a common misconception that they are primarily scavengers. On the contrary, about 70 percent of their diet is composed of direct kills.
They consume animals of various types and sizes, carrion, bones, vegetable matter, and other animal droppings. Their jaws are among the strongest in relation to the size of any other mammal.
They have a great sense of humor.
Hyenas make a variety of vocalizations, including wailing calls, howling screams, and the well-known “laughter,” which can be heard up to five kilometers away (three miles) and is used to alert other clan members of a food source.
They are very territorial.
Spotted hyenas are organized into territorial clans of related individuals. The center of clan activity is the den, where the cubs are raised, and individuals meet.
They mark and patrol their territories by depositing a strong-smelling substance produced by the anal glands on stalks of grass along the boundaries. “Latrines,” places where members of a clan deposit their droppings, also mark territories.
Hyena cubs stick close to their mothers.
They usually bear litters of two to four cubs. Cubs begin to eat meat from kills near the den at about five months, but they are suckled for as long as 12 to 18 months an unusually long time for carnivores.
At about one year, cubs begin to follow their mothers on their hunting and scavenging forays. Until then, they are left behind at the den with a babysitting adult.
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