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Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Global Population
(Bohm and Höner 2015)

  • Tentative estimate: 27,000-47,000 individuals.
  • Largest known populations in Serengeti (Tanzania, Kenya) and Kruger National Park
  • Most stable populations in protected areas in southern Africa; also several populations in eastern Africa
  • Population declining in eastern, central and western Africa
    • Human-wildlife conflict
      • Poisonings
      • Hunting/culling


IUCN Status

  • Least Concern (2014 assessment) (Bohm and Höner 2015)
    • Widespread in Africa
    • Global population exceeds 10,000 mature individuals
    • Declines outside protected areas not sufficient to warrant listing in a threatened category

CITES Status

  • Not listed (UNEP 2019)

Threats to Survival

Persecuted by humans (from Honer et al. 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Primary threat (IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group)
    • Classified as "vermin" in Ethiopia
    • Often driven by fear or by conflict over livestock
    • Frequently trapped, poisoned, and shot; both inside and outside protected areas
      • Incidental catch in wire snares set to trap herbivores for their meat is a significant contributor to adult mortality in the Serengeti
        • Accounts for over 50% of adult mortality
        • Incidents increasingly common since the 1970's
      • Entire clans may be killed by poisoning

Sport/game hunting uncommon (from Honer et al. 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Hunted for sport
    • Considered an unattractive species
    • Hunted "for fun" or used as "target practice" (Honer et al. 2008; IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group)
  • Killed as a source of food
    • Not a typical source of bushmeat
  • Portions of the animals used for medicine

Decline in prey abundance (from Honer et al. 2008)

  • Habitat loss indirectly impacts prey
    • Driven by expansion of human settlements and overgrazing by livestock

Management Actions

Populations within protected areas

  • Numerous areas across their range
    • Particularly in southern Africa
  • Partial list of protected areas
    • Kruger National Park, South Africa
    • Kgalagai Transfrontier Park, Botswana and South Africa
    • Etosha National Park, Namibia

Needed actions

  • Education and outreach
    • Efforts to conserve the species often run into poor public perceptions of the animal (IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group)
    • African Wildlife Foundation mitigates human-wildlife conflict by helping construct livestock enclosures to protect property from predators (AWF website)
  • Research
    • Studies to examine behavioral plasticity
      • Needed to determine the extent to which hyena are able to respond to changing ecological conditions (East and Hofer 2013; IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group)
    • Botswana Predator Conservation Trust directs research and education efforts to preserve Africa's large predators and their habitats (BPCT website)
      • Piloting Shorobe Livestock Insurance Initiative; goal is to address conflicts between humans and large carnivores through a community administered insurance program to compensate for livestock loss

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