Willi had been missing for the last four days and, considering he’s been persecuted lately and that he’s maturing, I was almost certain he’d emigrated and I was set to go to Police Meda early this morning to see if he was hanging around with the Assumberi clan at their morning feeding place. I had visions of the surprised look on the face of the Christian guy who feeds hyenas at the north side of town when this tubby hyena turns up at his feeding operation and sticks its nose in his food bucket. But, no, Willi’s not finished with the Suqutatberi clan just yet. Last night, from out of the shadows, came the rotund hyena, with the ‘what did I do now?’ look on his face. He went straight to the food bucket and then did his little trick of unnerving the tourists by wandering around the back of them and sniffing at their legs. They all moved away from him like sheep being herded by a fat, spotted sheepdog.
But not all is well. The photo below shows the latest bite on Willi’s bottom; someone is persecuting him. After the feeding I went with him as he trotted off down the hill and onto the plain with some food. He went a couple of hundred metres into the darkness and I left him and went back up to the hill. But then I heard some high pitched yelling coming from where I’d last seen Willi.
And no prizes for guessing who is likely candidate for persecutor. While Willi was at the feeding, Dibbey arrived and Willi’s eyes were fixed on her the whole time. He wouldn’t come near the tourists and the hyena man while Dibbey was attending and when Dibbey was at the side of the compound and Willi was taking food, he had one eye and one ear constantly directed at the big, aggressive female. If she moved a muscle, he would shy away from the food that was being held out to him; it was like seeing a junior version of Tukwondilli, all nerves and tension and kicking up dust.
So i’m beginning to think that it would be for the best if Willi were to emigrate. But it wouldn’t necessarily mean that he has to stay away. Note, the previous post about males returning to their home clan after an absence of 6 months. There’s a male hyena called Belliti, who comes to the hyena feeding only once in a while, always accompanied by a fat accomplice who doesn’t come to feed and so hasn’t been named by the hyena man (I call him Mortimer). Yusuf says that Belliti’s been coming since he was a cub but now only comes once in a while. I like to think that Belliti finds his mating opportunities with another clan but comes to visit the old Suqutatberi clan (his natal clan) once in a while, for reasons known only to him – probably food. And if Belliti can do it, then Willi can do it too.