Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hyena talks

Recently we have started giving talks at Mara Serena Safari Lodge on Wednesday nights. This is a great way to teach to the tourists staying at the lodge as well as the employees that work there about hyenas. We spend a lot of time at the lodge (fueling our cars, using their mechanics, getting water etc.) and it feels really good to be able to share some of our work with them and explain why we love hyenas so much and why they are important to study and conserve.

Everyone we have talked to has really enjoyed learning some fun facts about hyenas!

We bring a hyena's skull (left) and a lion's skull (right) to show how their skull morphology differs and how that impacts their bit force! We also show off the hyena's worn down bone crushing teeth. 

So far this has been a really positive experience. We have met a lot of interesting people from around the world and have been able to dispel some very common misconceptions about our favorite social carnivore. Hopefully we are able to continue this


Scissors MacGillicutty said...

That's great! I'm really happy to hear that people on safari are getting some correct information on dear old Crocuta crocuta. I don't know how many times I've watched a youtube video of people on safari observing hyenas and hearing the guide utter nonsense and lies about them, such as: hyenas are usually scavengers; hyenas kill the way they do because they don't hunt much; hyenas steal food from lions; hyenas are dogs (the last one ruined one of my favorite videos, a very sweet one of a mother and cub alone in some brush with the cub playing with and around mommy, who gives an affectionate lick every so often)

Questions: what's the most prevalent misconception about hyenas from the guests? Is there anything that the guests seem resistant to accept about them? (I'd guess there wouldn't be, as the lodge can't make going to the talk mandatory, so I figure these people have an open mind about hyenas to begin with)

dee said...

Good post and even better idea!! I'll bet the tourists love it! I'll be sure to attend the talk when I'm in Serena!

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