Monday, March 26, 2012

Do not feed the Hyenas - from your mouth!

The old adage - Don't Feed the Animals! - takes on a whole new meaning on the outskirts of the city of Harar, in eastern Ethiopia. Not only do the animals get fed - in this case, wild Spotted Hyenas - they are often fed from a stick clenched firmly between the teeth of so called "Hyena Men".

Each night, these brave souls take up their positions at the outskirts of the city with their basket of camel meat offcuts. Appearing out of the shadows, the surprisingly well behaved hyenas gather in close proximity to one and other in order to receive their nightly fill.

This practice is said to have started over a century ago during a time of great famine, when it was decided that feeding hyenas was a good alternative to the hungry carnivores satisfying their appetite for human flesh.

Today it could be argued that the practice serves a less macabre purpose - that is, to keep livestock and not humans safe at night. Another perhaps more plausible explanation is that its just good business as the practice has a proved a big draw card for tourists - some of which are stupid enough to try it for themselves!

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