Two very faces have joined Monarto Zoo’s Spotted Hyena clan, with the birth of twin cubs to first-time parents Thandi and Piltengi.
Born on 13 September, the little cubs top-off a very successful year for breeding the zoo.
Two Giraffe calves, five Cheetah cubs, two Meerkat pups, a porcupette, Przewalski’s Horse foals were born at this year, and a host of antelope and native animal were arrivals.
The eight-week-old hyena cubs received their very first health check, where they were microchipped, vaccinated, given a full body examination and had a DNA sample taken to determine their sex.
Both cubs had received a clean bill of health, tipping the scales at about 7 kilograms each.
Carnivore Keeper Rachel Robbins said the little cubs were thriving under the careful watch of doting first-time mum Thandi.
“Thandi is doing incredibly well as a first-time mum,” she said.
“Due to their unique reproductive anatomy, first-time hyena mums have a very high chance of something going wrong during birth, and a high percentage of first-time mothers in the wild die, so it’s incredible to see Thandi successfully rearing two cubs.”
“It’s also really exciting to see Piltengi father his first cubs as he has wild parentage which provides incredibly valuable genetics for the region.”
The cubs have spent their first few weeks of life in a private habitat with their parents and grandma, Kigali, and will be ready for their public debut in a few months once they become more confident.
“The cubs are still quite shy, sticking close to mum and their den but every day they grow a little more confident,” Ms Robbins said.
“For now, the best time to catch a glimpse of the youngsters is during our Lions at Bedtime tour.”
As a conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction, Monarto Zoo is proud to have bred 10 Spotted Hyena.
The newest little cubs will act as ambassadors for their species, educating Australians about the plight of their wild cousins.
The Spotted Hyena remains widespread in Africa, although there is continuing decline in wild populations outside protected areas, and even within some protected areas, due to habitat loss and persecution.
Hyenas can sometimes be a misunderstood species, but, in fact, they are excellent hunters with a success rate of up to 95 per cent, are extremely intelligent and have wonderful characters.
Research has proven hyenas to be excellent problem solvers, sometimes even out performing great apes in problem solving tests.