The Wildlife Conservation Society announced that laughter may be heard from the Bronx Zoo’s famous African Plains exhibit— from two spotted hyenas, which recently joined the zoo’s lions, gazelles, zebras and other wildlife. The hyenas are male and female siblings born in March 2008, at the Denver Zoo. The female’s name is Kubwa (Swahili for “big” because her head is bigger than the male’s) and the male is Kidogo (Swahili for “small,” since he has the smaller head). Kubwa weighs approximately 91 lbs. and Kidogo is 75 lbs. Most people associate the hyena with its raucous vocalizations that earned it the nickname “laughing hyena.” However, it is no laughing matter for the hyena’s prey in the wild, as spotted hyenas are serious hunters. These predators are the largest members of the hyena family and live in sub-Saharan Africa on savannahs and open woodlands.
“More than 30 years have passed since hyenas have been part of the Bronx Zoo,” said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and senior vice president of WCS Living Institutions. “We are pleased to have hyena back at the zoo so that our visitors can get a glimpse of these amazing creatures and learn more about their importance to the ecosystem.”
While spotted hyena are not considered endangered, their habitat is under increased pressure from human incursion. There has been a great decrease in the hyena population of western Africa. The Wildlife Conservation Society has a strong presence in Africa, including Southern Sudan where hyenas roam in the wild.
WCS has signed agreements with the Government of Southern Sudan to launch a long-term conservation strategy that will safeguard the region’s wildlife and wild lands, which rank among the richest in Africa.