Saturday, March 25, 2017

Urban Hyena Update

Hello everyone, I'm Lily, a graduate student studying cognition in urban hyenas in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Here's an update on what's going on in Mekelle! 

We finally got to see Rake in the daylight. Usually we set up just around dusk when it's still light out and then as it gets dark hyenas start to trickle through. We set up on a "hyena highway" between their denning sites just outside the city and the sites inside and around the city where they forage. You can hear a lot of human activity on the road; the hyenas appear quite used to this. 

Some surprise visitors! These porcupines just waltzed into this trial like they owned they owned the place. The hyenas didn't seem afraid, but they definitely respected their space!

Another visitor: the African Golden Wolf. Originally thought to be the same species as the Golden Jackal which lives in Asia, scientists discovered that these "jackals" are actually more closely related to wolves. 

Meet Elmo: a young subadult that is pretty fond of the box. Notice the three adults who are keeping at a "safe" distance. 

Unfortunately this is Elmo's favorite thing to do when he's near the multi-access box. Luckily he's really adorable so we don't mind watching him! 

Finally: English opens the multi-access box using the drawer! This is the first urban hyena to solve the box and he's opened the drawer twice now. Unfortunately for us, English appears to be extremely low ranking. We've seen him several times, but he only approaches the box when there are no other hyenas around. We're keeping our fingers crossed that he'll come back and open it a few more times! 

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