One less hyena

One thing I couldn’t help noticing since coming back to Harar was the conspicuous absence of Bebe. It’s been two weeks now and in that amount of time you can count on seeing all of the familiar hyenas. With the exception of Funyamurey and Shebo, they don’t stay away long and two or three days is the maximum that one might be absent. So last night I asked of Abbas, the hyena man’s son, the question I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to ask: ‘Has Bebe been around here lately?’
He didn’t even stop to think, he just shook his index finger, which is the way he answers something serious in the negative. Then Abbas asked his father if he knew what had become of Bebe and the reply was that she might have been chased away by the other hyenas. Abbas asked if they would do the same to Willi and Yusuf said they could do it to any one of the hyenas.
It’s not common for a female hyena to leave her natal clan; that’s usually the lot of the male who must emigrate if he wants a chance to mate and reproduce (Last night Willi had a fresh wound on his rump which tells me he’s being persecuted by someone. Again it seems he’s not welcome in the clan any more).
So while I’d like to think that Bebe emigrated and found another clan to live with, experience tells me she probably fell victim to one of the many causes of mortality that hyenas around here are up against: car accidents, snaring, shooting or poisoning. Nevertheless, I’ll go to the main market where the clans converge in the night-time and hope to see those shiny little eyes and that cute little hamburger spot pattern on the rump of my favourite hyena: Bebe.


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