Oral presentation- Open Session 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Diet of brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea) in the presence of a vulture restaurant (#441)

Caroline Kruger 1 , Kerry Slater 1 , Maartin Strauss 1
  1. Applied Behavioural Ecology & Ecosystem Research Unit, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Roodepoort, Gauteng, South Africa

Brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea) are distributed throughout southern Africa, but owing to human population expansion, habitat fragmentation, and deliberate extermination their numbers are estimated to be less than 8000. Owing to their inefficient hunting behaviour, brown hyaenas are primarily scavengers of carcasses or opportunistic hunters of small mammals. Our study took place on Mogales Gate Biodiversity Centre, a 3060 ha reserve in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. Although no large predators such as lion (Panthera leo), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) or wild dog (Lycaon pictus) occur on Mogales Gate, there is a well-established vulture restaurant which is regularly supplied with carcasses of domestic species from surrounding farms as well as hunting left overs. Brown hyaena faecal scats were collected from the study area over 12 months and then analysed using standard techniques to identify species being fed on by the hyaena. Six dietary categories were identified from the scats, with a mean of 2.5 and 1.9 dietary categories per scat in the dry and wet season respectively. Large mammal remains were found in all analysed scats, with domestic pig being the most abundant in both the dry (92.6%) and wet season (85.4%). Our study suggests that brown hyaena on Mogales Gate incorporate at least 22 mammal species into their diet, the majority of which are large mammals supplied as carrion at the vulture restaurant.