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Abandoned Hyena cubs to find a new home

Date Published: 05 Apr, 2011
Abandoned Hyena cubs to find a new home

The striped hyena cubs at the KWS veterinary labs.

The trio of striped hyena cubs rescued nearly a month ago from Tsavo West, is soon expected to be transferred to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage after responding well to treatment and care by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) vet officers and animal caretakers.

The cubs (two female and one male), barely a few days old, were found abandoned by pupils at the Riata Primary School in Taveta. They were then later taken to the Taveta station before finally being transferred to the KWS headquarters.

They were received by Dr. Edward Kariuki, the KWS Veterinary Doctor, and have for the last few weeks been attended to in a special caged enclosure at the vet compound. “Their condition upon being received was critical as they were extremely dehydrated for lack of their mother’s milk,” Dr. Kariuki said. “We had to ensure that they are fed on milk at least four times a day and are closely monitored in a warm environment to ensure their survival and growth.

They will continue to be monitored for three months after which they will be taken to the Nairobi National Orphanage,” he said. He added that they will soon be vaccinated as they have a relatively low immunity for lack of sufficient colostrums found in their mother’s milk needed to protect them from various diseases.

 Mr. Godfrey Mutuku, the animal caretaker at the orphanage, says the cubs weighed an average of 500 grams when they were brought in but have now doubled their weight in less than a month.

The striped hyena is a medium-sized carnivore with an overall appearance similar to that of a dog. They can be distinguished from their more common cousins, the spotted or brown hyenas, by the black stripes on their legs, torsos and backs. They can live for up to 12 years and reach a height of between 0.7 to 0.8 meters.

The striped hyena has already been listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as near threatened, as their global population is estimated to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. Out of these, only Kenya and Egypt have estimated populations of over 1,000 accounting for over half of the total African population.

 In 2010, Kenya launched the national large carnivore conservation and management strategies that include a clear roadmap for the conservation of the striped hyena.

The strategies prescribe measures that need to be taken by various stakeholders coordinated by KWS to reverse their declining population. It also provides ways of dealing with various challenges facing the carnivores.

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