Two adorable faces have joined Monarto Zoo’s Spotted Hyena clan. Twins were born on September 13 to first-time parents Thandi and Piltengi.
Carnivore Keeper, Rachel Robbins, said the little cubs were thriving under the careful watch of doting first-time mum Thandi.
“Thandi is doing incredibly well as a first-time mum,” Rachel said. “Due to their unique reproductive anatomy, first-time Hyena mums have a very high chance of something going wrong during birth, and a high percentage of first-time mothers in the wild die, so it’s incredible to see Thandi successfully rearing two cubs.”
Rachel continued, “It’s also really exciting to see Piltengi father his first cubs, as he has wild parentage which provides incredibly valuable genetics for the region.”
The cubs are currently spending most of their time in a private habitat with their parents and grandma, Kigali. Keepers expect they will be ready for their big public debut in a few months, once they become more confident.
“The cubs are still quite shy, sticking close to mum and their den, but every day they grow a little more confident,” Rachel Robbins said. “For now, the best time to catch a glimpse of the youngsters is during our ‘Lions at Bedtime’ tour.”
As a conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction, Monarto Zoo is proud to have bred a total of ten Spotted Hyena. The newest little cubs will act as ambassadors for their species, educating Australians about the plight of their wild cousins.
The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), also known as the Laughing Hyena, is a species currently classed as the sole member of the genus Crocuta. It is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. The Spotted Hyena has a widespread range and large numbers, estimated between 27,000 and 47,000 individuals, however, the species is experiencing declines outside of protected areas due to habitat loss and poaching.
Hyenas can sometimes be a misunderstood species, but, in fact, they are excellent hunters with a success rate of up to 95 per cent, are extremely intelligent and have wonderful characters.
Research has proven Hyenas to be excellent problem solvers, sometimes even out-performing great apes in problem solving tests.