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Friday, November 7, 2008

Makgadikgadi Brown Hyaena Project, Botswana

There are four species of hyaena/hyena occurring in Africa, three of which are present in southern Africa (brown, spotted and aardwolf). The Striped Hyaena is the closest relative of the Brown Hyaena but occurs only in the arid zones of east Africa. The Brown Hyaena is the third rarest carnivore in Africa and occurs only in southern Africa. Over 95 % of the wild population of about 8,000 lives in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa where they survive in arid areas, are primarily nocturnal, timid, and rarely seen.

The Makgadikgadi Brown Hyaena Project was established in 2000 to assist Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) with the management and conservation one of this rare and little studied Hyaena. The project’s goal is to gather information on the ecology of the brown hyaena which will further the conservation and management of the species, as well as increase our understanding of human/wildlife conflict.

1) To acquire an in-depth understanding of the Clan Structure and Population Dynamics of the Brown Hyaena in the Makgadikgadi.
2) Using scent marks, develop a methodology to accurately estimate Brown Hyaena density anywhere within their range.
3) The energetics of the Brown Hyaena will be examined as this affects mortality and birth rates, the two most important parameters of population sustainability.
4) To investigate the impact of the Makgadikgadi game fence in preventing the movement of the brown hyaena out of the National Park and into cattle areas.

Interesting Facts. A Makgadikgadi Brown Hyaena:
  • Walks about 35 km in a night, but sometimes as far as 60 km, searching for food. This means they walk over 130,000 km during their life.
  • Rarely makes any sound at all and communicates by leaving double scent marks on grass stalks. A brown hyaena will scent mark about 100 times every night and almost half a million times in a complete life span.
  • Has territories varying from 200 km2 to 1,500 km2.
  • Will rarely kill anything larger than a springhare and survives from eating carrion, and also small mammals, insects, reptiles, eggs and fruit.
Attached is a video of from Pierre Minnie of Earth-Touch. These three juvenile Brown Hyaenas were filmed sharing an animal hide early one morning near Jack's Camp, which is located just outside of the eastern borders of the well-known Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in north-eastern Botswana. For the full story click here.

If you would like to learn more about the Makgadikgadi Brown Hyaena Project project, make a donation or have any further questions, please contact:
Post: Bag 114, Suite 76, Maun, Botswana

Story from Assignment Earth on Brown Hyaena Conservation in South Africa:

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