Hyenas in Harar

July 7, 2010

Tukwondilli

Marcus Baynes-Rock is researching the cohabitation of humans and hyenas in an Ethiopian city. If you find yourself at all intrigued by the prospect of after-dark adventures in pursuit of these scavengers, it’s worth reading his blog all the way through (starting with the first iteration) for one heck of a story. There are clan wars and poisonings, efficient feedings and revenge attacks, and sometimes just quiet nights out on the town following his tail-swishing date through garbage dumps and drainage ditches. Marcus’s descriptions and images are confronting, fascinating and insightful, full of well-drawn characters (mostly nonhuman), dramatic encounters with police and rough animals, and tragic events. His firsthand ethological reports on the behaviour of this canny carnivore are particularly captivating; they also provide a valuable qualitative record. Marcus is doing tough fieldwork, and tough and honest thinking about the complexity of human-animal interactions. Like so much else, it comes down to asking how we can and do manage to live together.

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