Across Africa and Asia, several species of hyena occur. The striped hyena is the most widespread, while the brown hyena’s range is restricted to southern Africa. The aardwolf is the smallest among the hyaenidae family. But the most well-known is of course the spotted hyena.
The population of spotted hyenas in Africa is estimated to exceed 100,000 individuals, making them Africa’s most abundant large carnivore. The species lives in complex social groups where the females are normally in control. When hunting, spotted hyena’s work together as a team and their opportunistic behavior makes them highly adaptable to survive under extreme circumstances. This may also explain why the species is so widely distributed in Africa.
The spotted hyena is active both during the day and at night, and although the species is often classified as a scavenger, they are also very successful hunters. Common prey of spotted hyenas are for example warthog, bushbuck, hartebeest or even buffalo. Hyenas are capable of digesting almost anything, except hairs and hooves. They really are the cleaning squad of the savanna.
But their great ability to adapt, does have a downside. In areas where spotted hyenas live in close proximity to humans and their livestock, they have learned that food is actually not hard to find. Once these hyenas develop a habit of catching a goat or sheep every now and then, this could lead to conflict situations. To protect their livestock, livestock owners would often lay out poisoned carcasses in the field for hyenas and other scavengers to feed on. In many areas, such destructive measures cause predators to die in large numbers, which is one of the main reasons why spotted hyena numbers are declining in Africa.. Because carnivores have a very important regulatory role in an ecosystem, the disappearance of this species could eventually cause other plant and animal species to disappear as well. It is therefore very important that spotted hyenas are protected!
How does Leo Foundation support spotted hyenas?
Leo Foundation supports several projects that contribute to the protection of spotted hyenas in Senegal, Cameroon and Kenya. In close consultation with local communities, we are trying to find practical livestock protection solutions that are less harmful to hyenas. Such solutions could for instance include the construction of bomas (closed night pens for livestock), or the installation of flash lights to deter predators.
As part of these projects, the spotted hyena populations are mapped by local rangers, and we organize workshops in villages to raise awareness on the importance of protecting carnivores.
Hyenas FC supports Leo Foundation and spotted hyenas
A football club that goes by the name of Hyenas FC? Perhaps it’s an unusual choice of a name, but it actually makes a lot of sense! In fact, the intelligent and organized system used by spotted hyenas during a hunt, compares extremely well to the tactics a football team uses when hunting for a goal. All the more reason to help the spotted hyena lose its negative stigma..
To this end, Hyenas FC has launched a sponsorship campaign to help improve the protection of hyenas in Africa. During their matches, large banners will be placed around the field and there will be a collection box. The revenues of this action will go entirely to the hyena projects of Leo Foundation. We are very grateful for the support Hyenas FC is giving us, and are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration. On behalf of the ‘real hyenas’: Thank you!