Saturday, June 6, 2009
Posted by Kay Holekamp at 12:45 PM
After my last entry about the new guys, which included a photo of them checking a camera trap in Shompole, someone asked that I post some photos taken by the camera traps. So here are a couple fun ones. We set out camera traps in two different ways, at striped hyena dens and in an area-wide grid. These tell us different things: the cameras at dens tell us about whether the dens are occupied, if so by whom, and who else drops by each den to visit. The cameras set out in the grid tell us where there are hyenas that are unfamiliar to us, and they also tell us about which animals other than striped hyenas occur in the vicinity of each camera on each day. The grid cameras are "baited" with scents, but the den cameras are not baited. The top photo here shows a young striped hyena rubbing against a stick pounded into the ground near the camera; we have dipped pipe cleaners in specific commercially-avaialable scents and wrapped those around the stick. Like so many other mammalian carnivores, striped hyenas like to rub against strong-smelling things, and that's what's happening here. Note how fully bristled this kid's tail is while he's rubbing--- just like a bottle brush. That's a hyena's way of telling you he's pretty excited about those scents!
The bottom photo shows a scene at a den with mom (farthest from camera chewing on a bone), baby (in middle) and an adult male visitor (perhaps dad; that remains to be determined). Who knew these "solitary" carnivores led such busy social lives!