By Will Knocker:
One of the most reviled of the African mammal species, but to my mind, one of the most interesting: the highly social, very intelligent, noisy, matriarchal Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)…….
Now that the Park is so full of wildlife, the hyenas are doing well & they also have the southern suburbs next to the Park to forage in at night. They do very well in the Silole Sanctuary where I live (adjacent to Ongata Rongai) where they love to scoff an occasional dog if they can catch one!
Here they are investigating something they can smell: like all mammals & especially carnivores, smell is key to their view of the world…
Hyenas are dominated by the female of the species, who is pumped full of testostorone. Males (smaller & inferior to the dominant females) come way down the scale in Hyena society & are mere sex-slaves…
Tail up is a sign of aggression/excitement: they probably smelled lions, or competing hyenas. At night, excited hyenas emit the most extraordinary noises, including the far-carrying whoop which is one of the most evocative sounds of the African bush….
For many years, misunderstood by people & poisoned, killed & persecuted, these amazing (& generally inoffensive: they are highly intelligent & steer clear of trouble) large carnivores are becoming much more numerous & visible in Nairobi National Park, a haven for this sp. as for so many others…..