Spotted Hyenas Essay

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Fasting for Lent Forces Hyenas to Change Diet Kevin Solomon ENV 201: Environmental Science Michelle Kefford The open planes of Africa are home to some of the most adaptable animals. Africa is plagued with hot dry summers and very little rain. In fact, most parts of Africa suffer from droughts year after year causing these animals to travel great distances to find food and water. Over the years we have come to expect their survival. Until recently, no one would have believed that Lent, which is observed by many Christians, would have an impact on the spotted hyenas. Members of the Orthodox Tweahedo Church of Ethiopia stopped eating meat and other dairy products during Lent. Lent, is the 55 days before Easter that is observed by many Christians. They will give up certain foods during that time. Ecologists have discovered that these practices have dramatically impacted the diets of wild animals. The spotted hyenas were affected by Lent and had to change their eating habits. Spotted hyenas are notorious for their scavenging ways. They get food from butcher's waste and households but now have turned to hunting. This research was published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Animal Ecology. Fortunately, spotted hyenas are supremely adaptable animals and are capable of adapting to habitats with dense human populations and eating whatever food is available. Gidey Yirga from Mekelle University stated, "Hyenas can eat almost any organic matter, even putrid carrion and anthrax-infected carcasses. They are capable of eating and digesting all parts of their prey except hair and hooves. Bones are digested so completely that only the inorganic components are excreted in the hyena's droppings." Yirga collected and analyzed hyena droppings from three different sites. He collected the droppings on the first and last day of Lent then 55 days after Lent

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