In late May, we showed up at the Happy Zebra den and found Coel (short for Coelacanth, pronounced “seal”) sitting in a den hole looking very nervous. She would get up frequently and stick her face in the den hole. Other times she would crawl into the hole and disappear completely. Anytime a cub or another hyena would get too close to her den hole she would lunge or snap at them. We just knew that she must have tiny babies in the den hole. We were super excited! Coel had lost her first litter of cubs in January, and we really wanted these cubs to make it.
For the last few weeks, every time we have gone to the Happy Zebra den Coel has been guarding her hole. Often when we arrive at the den we won’t see her until partway through the session when she crawls out of the den hole and aggresses on some nearby cubs who have gotten a bit rowdy. The cubs seem quite used to her aggressions. When she lunges at them, the cubs barely back off. They just briefly stop playing and look at her before going back to their chewing and tumbling. I am not quite sure how seriously they take her anymore!
Finally, a few days ago Emily saw the cubs for the first time!!! There were two of them! One of them has been named Cambrian and we are still working on the name for the second one. Ceol’s lineage is geologic time periods. Hopefully, these cubs will be luckier than their older siblings!
|A very tired Coel with one of her cubs.|
|Ceol with one of her cubs.|
|Ceol's cubs playing with the big cubs.|