Monarto Safari Park is celebrating cub-tastic news as the newest addition to the Spotted Hyena clan soared through its first health check.
The tiny but toothy cub was carefully weighed, vaccinated and given a once over of paws, claws and sharp teeth by the skilled vet team.
Monarto Safari Park’s carnivore keeper, Tosh Leahy, said the health check confirmed the little cub is growing up healthy and strong.
“Now at two months old the cub is tracking really well and weighed in at 5.7 kilograms, which is similar to the size of an average house cat,” said Tosh.
There’s just one question left unanswered – whether it is a male or female – and there’s more than meets the eye in finding out…
“Working out the sex of a hyena is not as simple as a visual observation, so we took DNA samples which will be sent to Serengeti Hyena Research Group in Berlin for testing to find out if the little one is a male or female.”
The sex of the cub will determine its role in the regional breeding program later in life.
Following the health check the brave cub was quickly returned to the den with mum, Forest, who was very keen to be reunited with her little one.
“Forest is a wonderful mum, she is very loving and affectionate to both the youngest cub and her one year old cub Jabali.
“Since the health check the cub has become more active and is eager to venture out of the den to spend time with Forest. It is getting more adventurous each day but still very dependent on mum,” said Tosh.
Mum and cub will remain in a private den for several weeks before making their debut in the public habitat.
Monarto Safari Park has successfully bred 15 hyena cubs at the park, of which Forest has raised nine cubs with male hyena Gamba. Sadly, Gamba passed away in late December 2023 at the ripe old age of 20.
Despite pop culture portrayals of Spotted Hyenas as clueless villains, in reality hyenas are very sweet natured and highly intelligent with a hunting success rate of up to 95%.
“Hyenas have quickly won a place very close to my heart simply because they are so sweet and affectionate and each hyena here at the park has a very distinctive personality.
“Having hyenas at Monarto Safari Park is a great way to spread awareness about misconceptions and help people learn about this impressive species,” finished Tosh.
While the wild Spotted Hyena population is currently faring well, persecution by humans and habitat loss remains a threat to the species. By visiting the clan at the park, you can support conservation of these unique carnivores for generations to come.