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No laughing matter

No laughing matter

Hannes Kaufmann


BEST known from the arid terrains of the Namib and Kalahari Deserts, the brown hyena is usually a very shy and timid animal, however, a security camera recently caught what looks like a rather hungry scavenger at a block of holiday flats near The Mole in Swakopmund.


Why such an animal develop the courage to venture into the midst of the developed hustling and bustling town of Swakopmund, is anyone’s guess.


While it is known that brown hyenas can survive close to urban areas by scavenging, it could very well be that food scarcity is the main reason for this animal taking higher risks in order to find food.


With the drought in the north-western regions of Namibia, the Namib desert and western coastlines, the supply of food has become scarce.

Also known to be bad hunters, brown hyenas have a diet that consists mainly of carcasses killed by other predators, but can also include rodents, insects, eggs, fruit and fungi like the Kalaharituber, which is a truffle.

Previous sightings of a brown hyena on the outskirts of Swakopmund recently made some social media headlines, however, it is not known if this is the same animal.

The global population of these animals are estimated to be between 4,000 to 10,000.

Listed as “Near Threatened” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the brown hyena’s major threat is human persecution as they are often mistakenly considered to be harmful to livestock.

The brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea), also called Strandwolf, is often confused with another hyena called Aardwolf (Proteles cristata), which is referred to as the “Striped Hyena”.

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