Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hunting the hyena: Part I

Over the past few years we've had a few encounters with hyena while traveling through the southern African countries and after our very first visit, I decided to put together a plan and fit in some hyena hunting the very next time we made plans to visit the Dark Continent. We've encountered Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) in South Africa on a number of occasions, always in the Limpopo Province, both on private property and in a few areas within Kruger Park. In Botswana we came into contact with Spotted hyena along the Chobe River and in Moremi and Savuti Game Reserves. 

Brown Hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) on the other hand have proved to be much more elusive.  At Cape Cross on Namibia's Skeleton Coast we found spoor along the beach, weaving in and out of the Cape Fur Seal colony that litter the beach.  While the Black-Backed Jackal is content to traverse the beach front in broad day light looking for the sick and dead seals that make up the bulk of their diet in these parts, the ever cautious Brown Hyena maintains its mostly nocturnal and shy disposition and evaded our waiting Canon DSLR on our visit. 

Most hunters that visit Africa shoot hyena opportunistically; we put aside time specifically for the purpose of hunting them and our professional hunters are generally not impressed! On this trip, the hyena were our priority species and everyone involved knew that we had quite a task ahead of us...

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