Diet of the spotted hyena (Curocuta curocuta) in southern Tigray, northern Ethiopia

AuthorGidey Yirga,Hans Bauer
World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, Vol. 7, No. 4, 2010
Copyright © 2010 WASD
Abstract: The diet of spotted hyenas (Curocuta curocuta) was studied in Endrta
Woreda, southern Tigray, Ethiopia from September to December 2009. Hyena
scats were collected throughout the study period from all areas and the samples
were washed and hairs were extracted. Hair was analyzed on form, length and
color with the naked eye as well as on a scale patterns using a microscope at 10
X magnifications and was compared with a prey species hair reference collection.
Faecal analysis revealed that the diet of the spotted hyena contains only prey item
of domestic livestock. Frequencies of prey remains of donkey, sheep, goat and cattle
were highest with sheep being by far the most common prey species. Household
survey of livestock depredation of spotted hyenas revealed that a total of 364
spotted hyena attacks were reported of which donkeys were significantly more
likely to be reported as lost to hyena predation, representing 31.87%, followed by
goats (14.56%) and sheep (10.71%). It seems most likely that carnivores deepened
entirely on domestic prey species for their dietary requirements. Detailed
information on the population size and density of spotted hyena is needed to
give a better picture of the status of this carnivore species in Tigray, northern
Ethiopia and to help resolve conflicts with livestock. Further investigations into
the seasonal variation of predation are recommended.
Keywords: Diet, Depredation, Spotted hyena, Scat
Gidey Yirga*1, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Hans Bauer2, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the
world that possesses a unique and charac-
teristic fauna and flora with a high level
of endemic species (World Conservation
Monitoring Center, 1991). Nevertheless,
the challenges facing the conservation of
Ethiopian wildlife today are becoming in-
creasingly formidable. Since the general
level of agricultural productivity is low,
increase in food production depended on
increasing the area under cultivation and
grazing. Usually, these expansions are at the
expense of wildlife resources leading to the
loss of both flora and fauna together with
their habitats (Leykun, 2000).
Human-spotted hyena conflict involves
both humans and hyenas. As a result, we
need to have a comprehensive understand-
ing of the issues at stake. In order to obtain
the necessary information fully, assessing
a situation is appropriate to consider the
*1 Gidey Yirga, Department of Biology, Mekelle University P.O.Box 3072, Mekelle, Ethiopia,
2 Dr. Hans Bauer, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Catholic University of Leuven,
Celestijnenlaan 200E, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium,

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