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Media Release - 14 October 2004

Spotted hyenas released

The reintroduction of predators into the Addo Elephant National Park received a further boost today when four spotted hyenas were given the freedom of the park after spending five months in a holding camp.

The hyenas, two females and two males, were translocated from the Kruger National Park late in May this year. As hyenas may be carriers of both bovine tuberculosis and avian tuberculosis, they need to undergo numerous rounds of testing to be declared disease-free, hence the period in the holding camp.

The last five months have been relatively relaxed for these predators with regular meals provided by rangers and an electric fence protecting them from marauding resident lions, eager to steal these meals.

In fact, the lions have made several attempts to harass the hyenas and take advantage of the fresh carcasses, true to the age-old war between the king of cats and the spotted hyenas.

Lions and spotted hyenas were introduced for the first time in over 100 years to the Addo Elephant National Park last year in October and November.

This latest release is part of the plan to return a natural balance to the ecosystems in the park by allowing predators to control the numbers of antelope such as kudu, red hartebeest and eland, as well as other herbivores such as warthog and ostrich.

The first group of spotted hyenas, translocated from Madikwe Game Reserve last year, are in good condition and making all of their own kills. It is a common misconception that spotted hyenas only scavenge off other predator’s kills. In fact, they make most of their own kills and will only scavenge or steal other predators fresh kills if the opportunity arises. “We hope that these four spotted hyenas will form a separate clan, stimulating calling between the two clans, “ said John Adendorff, Regional Ranger at the Addo Elephant National Park. “This will be a real bonus for tourists”. Adendorff added that the good genetic stock of these spotted hyenas would be an invaluable contribution to the health of predator populations in the park. The Addo Elephant National Park currently covers some 148 000 hectares in the Eastern Cape and is situated 75 kilometres from Port Elizabeth.

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Issued by: South African National Parks
Enquiries:
Megan Bradfield
Social Ecologist
Addo Elephant National Park
Tel: 042 233 0556