Busch Gardens Tampa is excited to announce a baby spotted hyena has just been introduced to the park’s hyena group. The 20-week-old male cub was born at the park on April 3, 2016, and is named “Mandazi”.
The cub is healthy and being cared for by first-time mother, 8-year-old Taziki, who was also born at Busch Gardens.
Hyena populations and habitats are shrinking in the wild due to issues like poaching, human conflict and habitat destruction. This latest birth is part of Busch Gardens’ partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The mission of the SSP program is to oversee the population management of select species within accredited zoos and aquaria, and to enhance conservation of this species in the wild.
Since 2008, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has supported the research and conservation of the spotted hyena and other African carnivores. Although thought by many to be scavengers, spotted hyenas are excellent hunters. In fact, hyenas are particularly efficient predators since they are capable of digesting bones, horns and even the teeth of their prey. Typically more successful at hunting than other African predators, hyenas often have their prey items stolen by lions, rather than the other way around.