The striped hyena, sweeper of the Middle East

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The striped hyena, one of the most mistreated animals of all, which has however become characteristic of the whole Middle East over the centuries

The striped hyena

The striped hyena is the smallest of the known hyenas and the only one to deserve the genus Hyaena, which, according to experts, makes it the only “true hyena”. Characteristic of this species is certainly the mane, which tends to raise in situations of particular stress to frighten the opponent. Like its cousins, it is a nocturnal animal and performs the function of a scavenger, so much so that it has teeth capable of piercing the femurs and very high immune defenses.

Striped hyena

Unlike its relatives, such as the ridens hyena, the striped hyena is not particularly noisy and in addition to a sort of light laugh it also emits a howl. Strictly monogamous, it rarely forms groups of more than one or two specimens. The animal with which she has the most competition is the wolf, although she has sometimes been seen collaborating with the latter. It is de facto widespread throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with an area ranging from Morocco to India and from the Caucasus to Kenya.

The relationship with man

Unfortunately, the relationship with man is turning out to be more and more complicated, so much so that the animal is now close to the threat; the causes of this are different, but all attributable to our species. In fact, our relationship with this beast has been going on since the dawn of time and already from that moment we began to give it negative epithets, still extremely popular in common opinion today. The hyena is in fact a symbol of betrayal, stupidity and cowardice, as well as, of course, of death and putrefaction; moreover there are many legends and stories that link it to cannibalism, almost a kind of ghoul in an animal version. In his defense it must be said that in some places such as Afghanistan, India and Palestine he is also seen as an animal linked to love; pity that this results in a hunt to create strange love potions.

Striped hyena

If these were already the conditions, it can be said that over time it only got worse; as, with an ever greater human presence on the territory, our contacts with this beast have progressively increased, giving rise to new and unpleasant stories. Following some alleged attacks on children and livestock, the hunt against them has intensified more and more, thus dramatically decreasing the range. Despite all this, the striped hyena is considered the national animal of Lebanon, a country where it has always been present.

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