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

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.