Smart, vocal and skilled hunters

We have come to adore the lion, and yet its fellow hyena neighbours have been placed in the ’not so pretty’ category. What a misunderstanding!

Usually portrayed as scavengers, the spotted hyena is, in fact, a highly skilled hunter and more often than not, capture their own meals. The large brains of these intelligent creatures enable them to engage in complex decision-making and to exist within complex social arrangements inside clans. And with an amazingly diverse range of vocalisations, these creatures exhibit high intellectual capability.

In saying this, the intelligence of a creature should not determine the level of respect it deserves. Perhaps there’ll be a day when all animals are treated equally. Regardless, I will continue to marvel at these creatures with awe. This particular beautiful hyena bounded along the savannah while the sun was just about to dip below the horizon. She headed straight for the vehicle along with her partner, highly curious, circling us and looking in intently for clues. The eye contact, the setting light of the sun, and this silent connection with her made for a moment I’ll never forget. Simple, yes. Beautiful? Utterly.

And I thank them, for some of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in the wild are undoubtedly due to their soothing night calls. May we come to respect all animals- we were all created to share the same planet.

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