The world would be a poorer place without the presence of hyenas

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Finally, finally, finally, after months of a severe hyena drought. The Djuma clan has returned home. One only realizes the huge value of a hyena den on our driving area, once they shift homes, within their territory. The den becomes a nice big fluffy mattress,which you can flop back onto with great glee, asthe den has rescued me on many a quiet game drive. It is also a place of great opportunity, I use to convert any one of my guests who boards my wagon and announces a dislike for hyenas. Mostly woman I might add, not sure what is wrong with some, I said some of you girls??? As they will inevitably be dragged off to the hyena den, as the gold light laps the shores to the burrow entrance. Usually there will be one on or two of the clan at the den. Once the intial shock of how large they are, which surprises most people who have never seen one and after a few comments on how ugly they are, which I let slip of my back like pebbles thrown on a frozen pond, I start the conversion process. After around fifteen minutes of being at the den I tell whom ever showed dislike to look into their eyes not at the animal but at what the animal is. As the eyes hold all there is to see. This usually has the desired affect as when they are at their place of safety and comfort, they have a calmness and serenity to their expressions, which contrast strongly with what most people have been exposed to, regarding what a hyena is all about. Most people's perception of them, is as a skulking, low down, scavaging, thief.

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For the really ardent non hyena supporter, I wait until of one of the cubs to appears from the depths of the mound, which melts the hearts of all who did not like them before. The cubs are incredibly cute resembilng mini black bears with a stumpy face.

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The hyena god has been smiling down on us as there is a new cub at the den which was found yesterday afternoon. A den they have used previously, but a couple of years back. This morning I counted eight hyena, plus the cub. They usuallly give birth to two. It was a great treat for my guests at the moment who are all photographers. So camera shutters became as common as bird calls, ahhhhh the sound of happy people. What was special for me was to see some of the cuties I watched grow up and developed special friendships with some, who are now somewhere in between grown up and cub, their coats still fluffy. My favourite was looking great and it was good to see she was doing well. She was only a little girl when we met, a very confident little lady, who would frequently come over to investigate you up arriving at the den.

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Two of them in particular were always up to mischief and loved having a nibble on the trackers boots, well they are hyenas.
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It great to have them back and I think is a testament to the rangers at Djuma that the hyena have had the respect of space and comfort with vehicles to raise yet another generation of the clan with us.