Ready to Pounce
Would you feed the wild hyenas?
Every night the Hyena Man brings meat outside the ancient walls of Harar to feed the wild spotted hyenas who come into the city looking for food. Apparently they were fed to encourage them not to attack the city people's livestock.
Aa ritual almost 50 years old, the wild hyenas have now become habituated to humans and thus will get close for some free grub. Still quite timid, these powerful mammals will scamper close, carefully grab the meat with their powerful jaws and scurry immediately back as if in fright.
Today this practice has become a big tourist draw to Harar located in the east of Ethiopia close to the Somali border. Around 7pm after the Sun had set, tourists would gather at the designated feeding spot and a crowd would gather around as the Hyena Man called out to the hyenas lurking far away in the dark. Eventually they would arrive and sit patiently as the Hyena Man sets up his basket and blanket.
Soon the hyenas approach and on a small stick, he begins feeding them scraps of meat. Once the hyenas are more comfortable, he begins calling over tourists who want to feed the hyenas themselves.
Here a small child takes the slightly risky opportunity to feed the hyenas up close and personal. By the look on his face it seems he wasn't too sure of himself and rightfully so! These are huge, wild animals and while the chance for him to be hurt is low, the chance for a mauling by a wild, opportunistic carnivore still exists.
Would you try to feed the wild hyenas up close and personal like this or would you be too afraid or cautious?