Five countries where keeping hyenas as pets persists

Hyenas, the cackling scavengers of the African savanna, are often depicted as ferocious predators. Yet, in some parts of the world, a surprising trend emerges – hyenas as companions. While not exactly the most conventional pet, hyena ownership persists in a handful of countries. Here are five where this unique practice can be found:

1. Ethiopia: Hyenas as Guard Dogs in the Afar Triangle

In remote regions of Ethiopia, particularly in the Afar Triangle, a tradition of raising spotted hyenas as guard animals exists. Young hyenas are captured and hand-reared, forming a bond with their human families. These hyenas help protect livestock from predators like lions and leopards. However, ethical concerns regarding hyena welfare and potential dangers for both humans and animals remain.

2. Yemen: Hyenas with Mystical Powers in Hadhramaut

In Yemen, particularly in Hadhramaut Governorate, a similar practice of raising spotted hyenas as guard animals persists. Here, hyenas are believed to possess mystical powers and are used to protect homes and property. However, this tradition is reportedly declining due to stricter regulations and the availability of more conventional security measures.

3. Somalia: Nomadic Communities and Hyena Guardians

While not as widespread as in Ethiopia, hyena ownership can be found in certain regions of Somalia, particularly amongst nomadic communities. Similar to Ethiopia, spotted hyenas are raised as guard animals, deterring predators and protecting livestock. However, concerns exist regarding the potential dangers posed by these powerful animals, especially when they reach maturity.

4. Nigeria: Exotic Pets

In a different context, striped hyenas are occasionally kept as exotic pets in Nigeria, particularly among wealthy individuals. However, this practice is highly discouraged due to the hyena’s wild nature and the potential dangers to both the animal and its owner. Additionally, the legality of keeping hyenas as pets in Nigeria remains unclear.

5. Saudi Arabia: A Debate Over Keeping Striped Hyenas as Pets

There have been documented cases of striped hyenas being kept as exotic pets in Saudi Arabia, often by wealthy individuals. Similar to Nigeria, this practice raises concerns regarding animal welfare and the safety of both the owner and the public. The legality of keeping hyenas as pets in Saudi Arabia is also unclear.

Important Considerations:

It’s crucial to note that keeping hyenas as pets is generally discouraged. These are wild animals with powerful jaws and unpredictable behavior. Their complex social needs and natural habitat cannot be replicated in a domestic setting. Additionally, the capture of young hyenas often disrupts their families and social development.

While the tradition of hyenas as guard animals may have historical roots, responsible pet ownership prioritizes the well-being of the animal. It’s important to understand the potential risks and ensure these creatures are treated with respect and kept in their natural environments whenever possible.

Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.

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