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Meet the hyena man

Friday, 2 February 2018

/ by emyahm

Dusk is falling on the old walled city of Harar and the still air is broken only by an occasional, chilling howl. In the semi-darkness, five hungry hyenas circle a young man crouched on the ground. Their bat-like ears flick back and forth in greedy expectation while their jaws flex to reveal a snarl of teeth. It’s feeding time.

But while spotted hyenas are known throughout the world to be vicious scavengers, in this small Ethiopian city, its habitants are not afraid. The young man draws a chunk of meat from his basket and dangles it in the air. Instead of leaping to attack, one hyena comes forward and takes it right out of his hands, with the poise of a domesticated dog.

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