The World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Hyaena Specialist Group is bringing together all of the known data on the four hyena species in Africa and Asia. This is a monumental effort since the distribution of hyenas has not been assessed in decades and requires the participation of experts from dozens of countries to contribute and dedicated researchers to format, analyze and project this data onto maps. Dr. Florian Weise is helping to lead the effort after his exceptional work on the cheetah distribution study from 2017. For info on how to add your data, click HERE
The spotted hyena is the most famous of the family, they are featured in documentaries and feature (rather unfairly) in Disney's The Lion King. Though they are considered ruthless scavengers by the public, they are actually very successful hunters and form female dominated societies. The brown hyenas are dark in coloration with long stringy fur living in the driest areas of southern Africa. They are more timid and generally scavenge. Striped hyenas are golden brown with dark striped across their backs. They live from northern Kenya to the western regions of India. The last species of hyena is called the aardwolf. Aardwolves are small when compared with their larger cousins and feed on insects.