Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brown Hyena Release

Seconds after the drug Zoletil takes effect the Moholoholo vetirinarian monitors the animal to ensure a safe procedure.

Threats to wildlife and habitats are very real. These have many different faces and range from topsoil erosion and alien invasive species competing with local ones to direct poaching. In much of Africa snaring for meat is the prevailing method and is targeted at animals that can provide meat. Poaching in itself a topic with deeper socio economic roots but we’ll keep that one for another discussion. The problem with snaring is that it is indiscriminate and may capture non-target animals. Because the large predators are at the apex of the food chain, they are at most risk and their disappearance indicates the collapse of the system. This brown Hyena was snared a while ago in the lowveld region (an area I would never have thought they occur) and brought to Moholoholo Rehabilitation centre near Hoedspruit to be treated under renowned conservationist Brian Jones and his team.

Often overlooked, the Brown hyena is a secretive species with a minimum global population of around 5 000 to 8 000 animals and possibly does not exceed 10 000 in total.

The snare, deeply cut into the animal’s neck as it tried to free itself and subsequently broken off, was removed and after carefully nursing the animal back to health the animal was ready to be released. I was invited by Moholoholo to document this procedure. Indeed a wonderful success story to see this top predator returned to the wild.

Eyedrops are applied to prevent the eyes from drying out.

A collar is fitted that will allow the hyena to be tracked by both telemetry and satelite readings.

Measure ments are taking. The volunteers at Moholoholo get unbelievable experience and are involved during all stages of the procedure.

This photo shows how the wound has healed.

The dedicated Moholoholo team.

Once recovered from the drugs the hyena is released into a holding boma where it will be monitored before final release back into the wilds.
To view more of the remarkable conservation work at Moholoholo or to book accomodation at some of their stunning camps click on the image above.


Unknown said...

Lovely journalism Albie. We need to be aware of these sort of things. Shem

Johan said...

Sadly these things keep on happening. By coincidence did I write a bogpost about the brown Hyena this week: http://planyoursafari.com/blog/the-brown-hyena/
Keep up the good work!