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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Find your passion with Bushwise

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

BY: Sarah Bennet

Camp manager blogs are written by our students who each get a chance to lead and manage a group (of their fellow students) for a period of one week.

A really curious fact for those of us into wildlife is that the spotted hyena is immune to anthrax and rabies.

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to write about for this blog. In the end, it had to be about this, the spotted hyena – a species I’ve become passionate about since joining Bushwise.

Spotted hyena and her cub

PHOTO BY: Sarah Bennet

At the beginning of our second semester, we were given an assignment to do a presentation on a mammal species (chosen at random out of a hat). This presentation had to be roughly between ten and 12 minutes long, and was due for the end of the semester.

I picked the spotted hyena, an animal I hadn’t given much thought to before. My first thought when I pulled the name was of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, the three hyenas from The Lion King. My second thought was that hyenas are dirty, mischievous scavengers, who steal food from other animals and don’t do anything for themselves.

Spotted hyena scavenging

PHOTO BY: Sarah Bennet

But, to my surprise, hyenas are incredibly smart creatures. The spotted hyena is one of the most successful pack hunters in the wild, and has complex social structures. 

Studies on this species’ social intelligence show it rivals that of primates. Everything from their complex reproduction process to the chemical makeup that affects their social system, became so interesting to me. 

I shared my newfound knowledge with anyone who would listen, even though I would be putting it into my presentation anyway. I wanted everyone to know how cool spotted hyenas are. 

My presentation contained way too much information, because I didn’t want to leave anything out, and I ended up being cut off 15 minutes in to give the other students a chance.

Field guide student out exploring

PHOTO BY: Matthew Nash

I hold such passion in my heart for these amazing mammals. And luckily for me, we had a small clan that lived around our campus. We would see them hanging out by the cruisers every night, hear them calling out as we would fall asleep, and find their tracks around the camp every morning.

Every time I see or hear a spotted hyena, I will always be reminded of Bushwise and the memories I’ve created here, which have a special place in my heart.

Visit the Bushwise website to learn how you can develop your wildlife passion like Sarah has.

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