They just never had a good PR agency


They have been maligned for millennia – from the days of antiquity when they were despised as grave robbers to Disney’s portrayal of vicious, laughing henchmen in The Lion King.

But the Born Free Foundation hopes to persuade us that hyenas are “utterly adorable” and worth saving. In the run-up to Christmas, the charity has launched an “adopt a hyena” scheme to help to fund conservation work in Africa. For £2.50 a month, “parents” will get a cuddly toy hyena, a photo and a family history.

The conservation charity admits it may be a tough sell. Mark Jones, a vet and the foundation’s wildlife policy programmes manager, said: “Most people would be used to Born Free promoting adoptions for lions and elephants. This is something a little bit different … perhaps not something most people would think of right at the top of the list of animals to adopt. They do get a bit of a bad rap, which is a great shame because they are fascinating and really important animals.

Hyenas aren’t blessed with the best of aestetic looks, and that’s before all the bad press.

Hyenas were a “very misunderstood” animal, said Mr Jones. “The reputation they have as being cowardly animals that steal children or rob graves isn’t deserved. They certainly deserve our respect,” he said. “They are very social and they look after each other in family groups. As young they are very vulnerable. I think they are very attractive.”

Humans persistently demonise hyenas. In Disney’s The Lion King (1994) Zazu, a hornbill, tells Simba the lion that hyenas are “slobbering, mangy, stupid poachers”. But lions are more likely to steal prey from spotted hyenas than vice versa.

In the 13th century, Bartholomew Anglicus said the hyena was “a cruel beast like to the wolf in devouring and gluttony, and reseth on dead men, and taketh their carcase out of the earth, and devoureth them”, citing the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder.

And who’s been the last one to prove Pliny the Elder wrong?



– The Independent


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  • dumbshit

    if they are successful, they could use the same narrative to promote labour, a distinct similarity there!

  • Cowgirl

    Hyenas may not be the best looking or have the greatest habits, but they have a job to do and they should be left to do it.

  • cows4me

    The Born Free Foundation should approach their local IRDs for sponsorship , they could relate to what it feels like to be Hyenas, they maybe sympathetic.