Media Release: Brown Hyena introduced to Mountain Zebra National Park
12 December 2008
Three brown hyena were introduced into Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock this week, becoming the first of their kind to be released in the area.
Brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) historically occurred in the area but were eradicated by hunting activities in the 1800s.
The three hyena – an adult male, adult female and young female – were translocated from Mafunyane Game Reserve in the Northwest Province in November this year.
The hyena spent three weeks in a boma at Mountain Zebra National Park to allow them to acclimatise to the local conditions and the predator-proof fencing before their release.
All three hyena are collared to allow Park Rangers to track them via telemetry and satellite technology. This will enable the rangers to monitor the movements of the hyena to check whether they are settling down well in their new home and to determine what habitat they frequent.
The hyena will play an important role in the ecosystems in Mountain Zebra National Park in their role as scavengers that feed on dead material. The Park’s cheetah, introduced in 2007, provide ample prey carcasses for scavengers such as hyena. The hyena also feed on insects, fruit and small mammals such as rodents, although predation makes up only about 6% of their diet.
A typical brown hyena population lives in small clans of related individuals led by an alpha female. When not at the clan’s den, brown hyena are usually solitary foragers.
The brown hyena is listed as a Protected Species on the IUCN Red List.
South African National Parks
Megan Taplin, Regional Communications Manager, Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra National Parks, tel: 083 6508649 or (042) 233 8609