Hyenas in Addis

A news report came out of the BBC on Sunday and I feel I have to respond. The report is sensationalist predator porn and strangely antagonistic towards hyenas. Here’s the link. Basically the reporter describes how hyenas are an emerging menace to people in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. While London is ‘infested’ with urban foxes, and Delhi is ‘beseiged’ by urban monkeys, the capital of Ethiopia is ‘plagued’ by urban hyenas. This is the kind of rhetoric that describes urban wildlife as polluting and out of place and implicitely argues for their eradication. The reporter describes the ‘hideous’ hyenas ‘brazenly scavenging’ around rubbish dumps in the city at night. I don’t really now how they could be less brazen and still scavenge. He also quotes a mission worker who has treated homeless people who have had fingers or toes nibbled by hyenas while lying drugged or drunk, and tells how a homeless woman lost a baby to hyenas the previous year. While I do agree that these things are problems, it’s a load of bollocks to lay the blame on the hyenas. Hyenas biting drugged, drunk, and homeless people are symptomatic of global processes which foster substance abuse and widespread poverty in Ethiopia which make people vulnerable to hyenas in the first place. And let’s put things in perspective – for every person admitted to hospital in Addis for a hyena bite there is another thousand admitted for attacks by dogs – man’s best friend. Fortunately for the homeless of Addis, the stray dog numbers are limited by the predatory hyenas.

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One thought on “Hyenas in Addis

  1. Dear Marcus, I am so glad to see your response to that dreadful article, and I hope it will receive the attention it deserves. Best wishes! Sash Lewis

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