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  /  Diet of the spotted hyena (Curocuta curocuta) in southern Tigray, northern Ethiopia

Diet of the spotted hyena (Curocuta curocuta) in southern Tigray, northern Ethiopia

Gidey Yirga, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Hans Bauer, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Abstract: The diet of spotted hyenas (Curocuta curocuta) was studied in Endrta Woreda, southern Tigray, Ethiopia from September to December 2009. Hyena scats were collected throughout the study period from all areas and the samples were washed and hairs were extracted. Hair was analyzed on form, length and color with the naked eye as well as on a scale patterns using a microscope at 10 X magnifications and was compared with a prey species hair reference collection. Faecal analysis revealed that the diet of the spotted hyena contains only prey item of domestic livestock. Frequencies of prey remains of donkey, sheep, goat and cattle were highest with sheep being by far the most common prey species. Household survey of livestock depredation of spotted hyenas revealed that a total of 364 spotted hyena attacks were reported of which donkeys were significantly more likely to be reported as lost to hyena predation, representing 31.87%, followed by goats (14.56%) and sheep (10.71%). It seems most likely that carnivores deepened entirely on domestic prey species for their dietary requirements. Detailed information on the population size and density of spotted hyena is needed to give a better picture of the status of this carnivore species in Tigray, northern Ethiopia and to help resolve conflicts with livestock. Further investigations into the seasonal variation of predation are recommended.

Keywords: Diet, Depredation, Spotted hyena, Scat