Brown hyaenas across our camera trap survey are on the move. In the southern Kalahari they have been recorded to roam an average of 31.1 km per night to forage for food (Mills 1990). We are hoping to employ radio collars in the future to discover if hyaenas in the Soutpansberg Mountains cover similar distances. At the moment however what we do know is that brown hyaenas rarely stop for a good scratch in front of our cameras like this one did.
Instead we frequently take blurred photos which do not clearly show the leg stripes and ear notches essential for individual identification.
To rectify this problem we have been testing a number of lures which will encourage the hyaenas to slow down and have a sniff. We have tested pilchards, rotten eggs, catnip, urine and a commercially bought lure. The bottled lure was the most effective for slowing animals with the urine and pilchards in second and third place. Unfortunately a wide array of other species seem more interested in the lures than the hyaenas are. We will keep trying new scents though. Here’s a selection of animals responding to our lures:
Mills M.G.L. 1990. Kalahari hyaenas: the comparative behavioural ecology of two species. Unwin Hyman, London.