Culture June 20, 2018 at 02:12 pm

Wild animals to all, but dear friends to these African communities [Photos]

Nduta Waweru June 20, 2018 at 02:12 pm

June 20, 2018 at 02:12 pm | Culture

Photo: Africa Geographic


The Harar people of Ethiopia have been living in close companionship with hyenas. Legend has it that around two centuries ago, a great famine spread across Ethiopia and hyenas started preying on the people of the sleepy medieval walled city located south of the Chercher Mountains in eastern Ethiopia.

To counter the devastating deaths, Muslim saints called for a meeting with the hyena leaders and convinced the hyenas that they will receive porridge if they stop eating people. The hyenas agreed, and in drinking the porridge, they also took away the evil spirits in the area.

This set off the mysterious yet friendly coexistence of the two species.  The community even reduced the heights of the wall to allow the hyenas to freely visit the village.

This practice, which had died down in the 1960s, has now been revived by one hyena man,  Yusuf Mume Saleh, who started feeding scraps to one hyena. The hyenas multiplied and over time, the villagers opened up and allowed them to roam freely.


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