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Scientists Observe Mutual Wolf-Hyaena Interaction For First Time


Striped hyaenas (Hyaena hyaena) are not known to be social animals and typically hunt alone, although they have been documented congregating around high value food sources. Gray wolves (Canis lupus), on the other hand are known to be highly social animals, though it is rare for other conspecifics to join wolf packs or to be associated with them.

According to observations published in the journal Zoology in the Middle East, before now there has been no record of large carnivores joining wolf packs. Most large carnivores such as coyotes, jackals or large domestic dog breeds are usually chased away or hunted by gray wolves. Two scientists have now documented their observations of one striped hyaena with a pack of gray wolves.

What is striking about their observations is that the hyaena was not seen following the pack or scavenging behind, but it was actually observed in the middle of the pack. This means that the hyaena was associating directly with pack and acting as a member. Despite their observations, the scientists are still baffled.

The observations have raised many questions. Some of these questions were posed by the scientists who published their observations. Among these questions are: why are these two species working together rather than competing? Why are the wolves tolerating the hyaena in the middle of the pack when hyaenas are known to steal kills from other carnivores? How is the relationship between the two species mutually beneficial?

For now, the scientists are left with many questions and no definite answers.

For now, the scientists are left with many questions and no definite answers. Their final question regarding a mutually beneficial wolf-hyaena relationship is not supported by any scientific data. The two researchers, Vladimir Dinets and Beniamin Eligulashvili, first noticed the two species interacting with one another when they discovered tracks. Several years later they witnessed the two species of carnivore traveling in one pack in the Negev desert.

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