Spotted Hyaena Tracking Collar Loosened

A small clan of free-roaming ‘Spotties’ established themselves on Welgevonden Game Reserve in 2016. The so-called scavengers are in fact highly efficient predators and are responsible for taking down up to 95% of the food that they consume.

While the new addition to the Reserve was exciting from an ecological standpoint, the clan posed a serious threat to the success of the Game Introduction and Grazing Lawn Programme.

It was recommended that the Reserve sustain a maximum of six individual Spotted Hyaenas, with the surplus being relocated to Khamab Kalahari Reserve in August 2018. As an additional measure, the matriarch of the clan was collared for monitoring purposes.

In 2019, Conservation Manager, Sam Davidson-Phillips was made aware through reports from the Research Centre and various field guides, that the collar around the matriarch’s neck appeared to be tight and causing discomfort. The management team resorted to re-capture the female and loosen her collar to prevent it from constricting her trachea.

After a number of failed call-ups, a procedure where the sound of an injured prey animal is played over a speaker system to lure in the predator, the matriarch was finally captured the evening of August 2.

The collar was thankfully not as tight as initially assumed, and the animal had not been subjected to any discomfort or physical stress.

Wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Paul Huber, was responsible for darting the individual and monitoring her vitals while the management team loosened the collar.

The female appears healthy and well-fed. She was also vaccinated against Rabies and CDV for a second time and treated for parasites.

The clan is not regularly seen by visitors, but are known to roam the Reserve extensively.

The matriarch roams the Reserve extensively. The above image shows her movement patterns between June and November in 2018.

The following photographs were supplied by Pip Davidson-Phillips