Animal Facts

  • Genus:

  • Species:

    Crocuta crocuta
  • Conservation

    Least Concern
  • Found In:

  • Length:

  • Height:

  • Weight:

    Approx 65kg

Meet our inquisitive hyenas!

Who runs the world!? Girls! Well in the life of a Spotted Hyena clan this is certainly the case. Our five beautiful Spotted Hyena at Monarto live in a matriarchal hierarchy, meaning the girls rank higher than the boys.

Kigali, our eldest female, was born in the wild in Kruger National Park in 1997. Since arriving at Monarto in 2007 Kigali has given birth to five cubs. She is our highest ranked dominant female and lives with her granddaughter Thandiwe and Piltengi. Male hyena Piltengi was born at Singapore Zoo in 2004 before heading to Monarto in 2007. Piltengi has a beautiful personality with amazing energy. He has the loudest giggle and gets incredibly excited around dinner time. Piltengi is very inquisitive and intelligent which shines through with the training we do with him.

One of Kigali’s daughters, Forest, is now the leader of her own clan with hyena male Gamba. Forest has also bred successfully giving birth to two cubs, including one born through Australia’s first hyena caesarean section in 2013. The procedure was hugely successful and her son has developed into a tough little guy who now lives at National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra with his half bother.

The youngest member of the clan, Mkoko, was born on July 13 2015. Mkoko, meaning mangrove in Swahili, was named because his mother’s name is Forest, and as mangroves grow under forests, we thought this very befitting!

Our Spotted Hyena clan are an inquisitive bunch and love different objects, scents and smells. Some of their favourites include finding scattered dog biscuits around their exhibit, cracking open an ostrich egg to eat the yolk inside, crunching on turkey drumsticks and even rolling around in tinned cat food or pilchards placed in their habitat.

The Spotted Hyena is found in most African habitats, with an estimated global population of between 27,000 and 47,000. These mighty carnivores live and adapt to a variety of habitats from open grasslands, dry semi-desert, forest areas and the acacia bush.

Although they appear similar to dogs with their rounded head and ears, blunt muzzle and thick, long neck, they’re actually more closely related to cats! This isn’t where the misconceptions stop. Hyenas are unfortunately a misunderstood species, often portrayed simply as daft scavengers. In reality, they’re excellent hunters with a success rate of up to 95%, intelligent and have wonderful personalities.

Hyenas live in complex matriarchal family structures called a clan which can grow to include up to 80 individuals.

Love hyena? Join our clan and ensure hyenas stay a stride ahead of extinction! There are many ways you can help support these inquisitive creatures. 

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Congratulations to our Chief Executive Elaine Bensted on receiving the #telstrabizwomen 'for purpose and social enterprise' award tonight.

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction and connect people with nature.

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