No laughing matter

In the last two years the Born Free Foundation have rescued six hyenas. They live together as a family in the peace and tranquillity of the charity’s rescue centre in Ethiopia

HyenaFirst came Matama, a tiny bear-like cub, just six weeks old, destined to be sold in Sudan, where hyenas are kept as magic charms, after a poacher caught him and killed his mother. Fortunately he was confiscated by the authorties.

The little cub, who drank only milk, was then hand-reared. This meant sleepless nights for Born Free’s care team – hyenas are nocturnal, active at night. Hyenas are pack animals, and the boisterous and charming little cub was desperate for animal company. So when Born Free heard of a pet dog in need of a home they took him in. Matama and Nolan got on extremely well, playing tag and seeking out scents in their vast enclosure.

More rescues
Six months later Born Free rescued two hyenas from the zoo at Haramaya University in Ethiopia. Kept separately in tiny cages, the older female repeatedly paced back and forth. Born Free worried that she might be permanently disturbed, but just two days after her rescue she lay happily in the shade of an acacia tree, free from fear and distress. She was named Tigeste, which means ‘patience’. Sadly the younger of the two has permanent eye damage, due to her poor early diet. She was probably stolen from her wild mother before she was weaned.

In February 2014 a wild female hyena made her den in a drainpipe in a residential neighbourhood in Addis Ababa. Tragically she was shot before Born Free could rescue her, but they took her two cubs back to their compound, where they happily played tag and found holes to hide in. Cute beyond belief, ‘Screamer’ and ‘Shylo’ were also mischievous and noisy! Then in September a local flower farm reported a tiny hyena cub hiding in a drainpipe and covered in mud. A torrential downpour had swept him out of his den and the half-starved cub needed urgent care and regular bottle-feeds. So eager to feed he forgot to swallow, milk squirted out of his mouth, down his legs and all over the carer and the floor! He has been named Gorph, which means ‘flood’.

Today all six hyenas live together happily, while Nolan the playful dog is back living with the Born Free team.

Please help KQ & the Born Free Foundation to safeguard Africa’s wildlife by placing any loose change in the envelopes provided and handing to a member of the cabin crew. The money received will help us in our fight to ensure a future for Africa’s wildlife. Thank you! www.bornfree.org.uk/about-us/born-free-kenya/