Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hyena man (again)

Feeding a hyena with meat at the end of a stick held in one's mouth.
Another picture of me feeding a hyena, albeit a bit ruined by those silly cats in the foreground, but anyway.. nobody else dared go near the hyenas, and do you see the shiny eyes at the back there?

I have known about the hyena man of Harar since I was a small boy, from the stories my parnets told me, and I have always been fascinated by the stories, such that Harar would be the one place in Ethiopia I most particularly wanted to go.

It is not sure how long the hyena man has been there. Some say it is a very old tradition, others that it was started somewhere in the late 1950's. Maybe Mum or Dad would know a bit more, as they were there in the early 1960's.

Anyway, the man, Youseef, lives just outside the walls of the City, facing the open fields out to the east. He comes out in the evening just as it gets dark with a bucket of very smelly meat and calls out to the hyenas, who turn up very quickly. Then one by one he calls them up to take his meat, although it seems that Jambo is one of the tamest.

Hyenas may not be the prettiest of animals and they do have very strong jaws and sharp teeth and it is quite amazing to get so close to such wild animals (albeit well-fed wild animals).

As it happens, there are other hyenas who hand around Harar at night, and these congregate in the ditch outside our second choice hotel (the Tewodros, really not recommended if you can get a room at the Belaynah). So from the window in the corridor to get to our room it is possible to watch them scavenging around. One evening we saw a brave man having a (stand-up) pee just about 5 meters from one such hyena.

Anyway, Harar met all expectations, and more, when it came to the hyenas!

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Anonymous Prince said...

My favorite photo of you besides another few hundred :D

23 May, 2010 22:17  

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