Hyenas to join lions, gazelles and other wildlifeon Zoo’s famous African Plains exhibit

Bronx, NY –The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that laughter may be heard from the Bronx Zoo’s famous African Plains exhibit— from  two spotted hyenas, which recently joined the zoo’s lions, gazelles, zebras and other wildlife.

The hyenas are male and female siblings born in March 2008, at the Denver Zoo. The female’s name is Kubwa (Swahili for “big” because her head is bigger than the male’s) and the male is Kidogo (Swahili for “small,” since he has the smaller head). Kubwa weighs approximately 91 pounds and Kidogo is 75 pounds.

Most people associate the hyena with its raucous vocalizations that earned it the nickname “laughing hyena.” However, it is no laughing matter for the hyena’s prey in the wild, as spotted hyenas are serious hunters. These predators are the largest members of the hyena family and live in sub-Saharan Africa on savannahs and open woodlands.

“More than 30 years have passed since hyenas have been part of the Bronx Zoo,” said Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and Senior Vice President of WCS Living Institutions. “We are pleased to have hyena back at the zoo so that our visitors can get a glimpse of these amazing creatures and learn more about their importance to the ecosystem.”

While spotted hyena are not considered endangered, their habitat is under increased pressure from human incursion. There has been a great decrease in the hyena population of western Africa. The Wildlife Conservation Society has a strong presence in Africa, including Southern Sudan where hyenas roam in the wild.

WCS has signed agreements with the Government of Southern Sudan to launch a long-term conservation strategy that will safeguard the region’s wildlife and wild lands, which rank among the richest in Africa.  WCS is working with government agencies and other partners to implement community-based strategies and sound policies for managing wildlife and protected areas across Southern Sudan.

Mary Dixon – 718.220.3711/ mdixon@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild
718.220.5189 / sfairchild@wcs.org

The Bronx Zoo
is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays through November 2, 2009. Adult admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.    

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to www.wcs.org/donation

WCS in the Field
To learn more about WCS conservation efforts in Africa and around the world, visit www.wcs.org