We have been lucky enough to catch and collar two male hyenas in the last couple of weeks. One of the males was caught in the south and another was caught in the north of the reserve. That brings the total number of hyena collared for this project to 3.
We’ve been getting some interesting data from Nomathemba (the female hyena) for the month of June and all seems to indicate that she is utilising the south-western boundary of the reserve. She seems to be moving greater distances than the first male we darted. They are utilising completely different areas with just an occasional overlap of their range.
Besides collecting data on the spatial ecology of brown hyena in the Eastern Cape we are also looking at feeding ecology of these elusive carnivores. The type of vegetation we have in this area is dominated by sub-tropical thicket which makes feeding observation very difficult. So we utilise scat analysis techniques and opportunistic observations from rangers on safari to collect data on their feeding behaviour.
Scat analysis techniques involve washing and sorting of hyena scat and identifying the various food items found in the scat. Not the best job in the world but needs to be done!!
I just want to take this opportunity to thank the various groups and individuals volunteering at Shamwari Conservation Experience for helping to set up and maintain the cage traps, camera traps and that you guys are always willing to put up with the “fresh” bait on the back of the cruiser J. You are all amazing !!!
We need to name the two males so watch this space for a post about suggestions.
The video below is the first hyena that Konrad has caught in the north of the reserve, being assisted by the vet students on this occasion. The location of the release was at Nola's Open which is where he was captured. 3 down now and hoping many more to come.
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