A small spotted hyena pup was purchased from the illegal pet trade for an amount of R30 000 early in 2015 by a couple that wanted an exciting pet. Oblivious to the fact that spotted hyenas are very social creatures with a physical and emotional need to live in troops, they took Rafiki home. She soon outgrew their house and then the problems started to find her a suitable home. From what we could gather this poor hyena was shipped from pillar to post and even at centres where she was temporarily joined with other hyena pups, her owners continued to come back for her and move her to yet another centre; even if it meant taking her away from new-found friends. As Rafiki grew the problem got worse and eventually her owners ran out of options as to where they could move her to next.
When we were approached to take her in, we agreed conditionally. Rafiki would, from the day she arrived at SanWild, stay here forever and her owners were asked to transfer ownership to us. We were not going to allow her to be shunted around ever again as our objective is to team her up with a male and prepare both animals for release back to the wild where spotted hyenas belong.
We will let you know once she has arrived.