Thursday, June 2, 2016

Playing Favorites

Good grief, where did this year go?! I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that in 3 short weeks, Kenya will be in my rear-view mirror.

For my last blog post in the Mara, I thought I’d focus on the hyenas; after all, they’re the reason I’m out here. I’m guessing that my presence was nothing noteworthy in their world (what’s another human in another car, right?), but they sure have left a mess of hyena paw-print impressions on my heart. While I will always love them all collectively, there are a few individuals that I’m dreading saying goodbye to. Every RA has different favorites for various reasons, but these are some of mine. I will miss them immensely when I go.

Where’s the Goat? (WTG)
WTG, or Goat as we call him, is a Northie and has gotten so big since we first discovered him as a tiny little thing. What Goat lacks in brains and cleverness, he makes up for in spirit and curiosity. At the den, he’s usually the odd one out, a bit bigger than most of the other cubs. Still wanting to play but not quite sure how to join in, he alternates between playing and standing there watching the cubs play like the adorable awkward third wheel that he is. Once, he stole a bone the other cubs were playing with, and I’m pretty sure he surprised himself; he ran a few steps, looked around unsure of what to do next, and then just sacked-out while the other cubs were trying to figure out where the bone had gone. Goat’s might not be that smart, but he’s one of our most lovable hyenas.

Toronto (TORO)
We have this tradition in FisiCamp where we pick ourselves a hyena boyfriend/girlfriend, and mine is Toro. Why? Well, he has a really cool fish pattern on one side that I’ve always liked, but beyond that, I have to say it was just an instant connection. He’s not around all that much – with his hunting and social sniffing and what not – so it’s been a long distance thing. But I still love him and am always excited to see him when we do.

Why is the Rum Gone? (RUMG)
I don’t really know why I like RumGone so much. Maybe because he’s got some absolutely gorgeous spots, or maybe because he’s super playful for a fully grown hyena and that’s one of my favorite things to see. Plus his name is pretty sweet, I think.

Mandrake (MDRK)
Ever since she was a little black cub, MDRK has been the romp-iest, most playful, rambunctious cub I’ve ever known. Erin likes to say she’s our resident pinball – running around wildly and bouncing off other cubs in the process. That has not changed once bit since. She’s got spunk this one, and I love it.

Toothless (THLS)
We only found Toothless a few months ago, back in February when we found the Happy Zebra den, but man, did she quickly become one of my all-time favorites. I loved her ginger hair and prominent mohawk from the start, but we soon learned she was also quite  curious and playful as anyone. She used to be a little ball of fury as well, bite-shaking anyone within reach during an egg trial, which was sometimes mean but also pretty funny to see all that aggression in such an adorable package.


Do I really have to leave these guys behind?! But it's not goodbye just yet! I still have 3 weeks to soak up as much Kenya as I can, and I have one final blog post to write later in the month. See everyone then!


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