Monday, May 14, 2018

Books Books Books!

Few research supplies in camp are used as much as our photo ID books! We use them daily to confirm IDs of hyenas we see. As they are so important, it is critical that we keep them updated and as accurate as possible. It’s a messy and tedious task, but absolutely necessary.

Photos are important: we want to make sure that each hyena has a clear right and left side so we can easily see their spots. This is especially important when they are young and growing.

We organize these photos into categories: Unknown is for small cubs if we haven’t yet learned who their mom is. Cubs is devoted to hyenas that are still den dependent and their parentage known. When the little babes graduate (no longer den dependant) we move them to the Subs (sub adult) category. Male hyenas usually disperse, so they almost never get moved to the adult male section. Female hyenas, since they remain in their natal clans, are moved to adults when they are 3 years, or when they have their first cub.

If we have not seen a hyena for 6 months or more, they are deemed “missing”. They are then given a date last seen, and are moved to our missing book. We keep photos of missing hyenas in case they come back home. DEGE is our most recent Missing hyena. He is a male and likely dispersed, but sometimes males will come home for visits, and its important for us to know who they are so we have accurate demographic data.

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