Brown hyena, with their brown shaggy coats, sloping backs and white and brown striped legs, are a nocturnal creature found in southern Africa. Despite being protected against hunting in the 1970’s in Zimbabwe, land development and shrinking habitats mean they are still a rare find.
Brown Hyena weigh around 40kg and can live 12 – 15years. They don’t tend to do well in competition with the more common spotted hyena although their social hierarchy and general social behavior are similar. On Cawston we have noticed an increasing population of brown hyena and although they are primarily scavengers, they do occasionally kill small animals. With the increase in numbers of brown hyena we have also noticed a reduction in numbers of small antelope that are thought to be favoured by brown hyena.
Initial studies in 2013 showed we had approximately a dozen individuals on the property. This year we decided to carry out an extensive carnivore study. The first trail camera study had 80% of the cameras coming up with brown hyena. Although they live in clans, we’ve only ever seen one at a time on our trail cameras or in spoor counts. So we were quite surprised to find three brown hyena all playing right in front of our trail camera!
We hope our carnivore studies this year will give us more insight into the population statistics of brown hyena and other predators living on Rosslyn Safaris.