Lets face it, hyenas are not amongst the most liked animals. I think this is a pity as they are intelligent and interesting creatures – and fun to watch on safari as they are always up to something. Their social structure is also fascinating.
The Spotted Hyena is listed as being of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red list. However populations are declining due to to persecution. With Africa becoming more populated humans and hyenas are coming into more frequent contact. Being opportunistic and bold creatures hyenas do sometimes raid livestock and other food – and occasionally also attack people – so many people consider them vermin and kill them when they can, either as retaliation or as prevention. Sadly one of the techniques used to kill hyenas is carcass poisoning – which not only can wipe out a whole hyena clan but also kills other scavenging animals such as vultures and jackals. Despite all this hyenas do provide humans with a strange service – some Masai people in East Africa will leave their dead to be consumed by them.
I photographed this hyena one morning in the Masai Mara, Kenya. It was trotting away from us up a small hill but stopped briefly to look back at us before disappearing down the other side.
Techs: Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 200-400L f4 IS with 1.4 Extender @ 400mm | f4 | 1/640s | ISO 100