However, hyaenas are often maligned and suffer from a lack of understanding through a history of negative myths and legends. This is often compounded when hyaenas come into close contact with humans such as in Lilongwe, where they are often feared.
In June 2014 our research partner, Carnivore Research Malawi (CRM) were contacted by Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) about increasing fear and conflict between local communities and a specific hyaena clan occupying the city. The clan was at high risk and in a collaborative effort with many discussions it was decided that the clan should be captured and safely relocated to a national park away from local communities.
This project is a partnership between Lilongwe Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU), CRM, DNPW and Central African Wilderness Safaris. Together, we have captured four animals and have temporarily housed them at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. The clan have been fitted with tracking collars and will be relocated in April 2015. A 7T AGS Movers (Lilongwe) truck will transport the hyaenas from Lilongwe to the research camp at Mvuu (CAWS) in Liwonde National Park (LNP). The CRM research team will track and monitor the progress of the released clan alongside the existing hyaena clan in LNP. They will be assessing spatial and social behaviour, clan interactions and survival.
CRM will be taking volunteers for this project based in Liwonde. Volunteers will be conducting radio tracking and behavioural observations of hyaena at night from the project vehicle to assess spatial behaviour and survival. Visit their volunteer page to download an information pack and application form.
Keep your eye on their project page for regular updates about the Hyaena Translocation Project.
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We are grateful to the following funders and supporters of this project:
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Wildlife Emergency Response Unit, Carnivore Research Malawi, Conservation Research Africa, University of Bristol (UK), Department of National Parks and Wildlife, , Nottingham Trent University, Peoples Trust for Endangered Species, Rufford Foundation, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Oklahoma Zoo, Central African Wilderness Safaris, Airtel and AGS Movers Lilongwe