Project Rafiki


In 2015 a 12 week old spotted hyena cub was rescued from the illegal pet trade by Frikkie and Numadi Botes that hand reared the animal. 

They named her Rafiki.

Rafiki has grown into a beautiful young female and have just recently been handed over and relocated to SanWild.  She is currently living in a natural habitat enclosure and it is our intention to pair her up with a male spotted hyena as soon as possible.  Spotted hyenas are highly sociable creatures and it must be emotionally very challenging for her to spend her days on her own while longing for the company of her own kind.

No human interaction with Rafiki will be allowed in the future as it is essential for her to undergo a period of re-wilding, but once she is introduced to a male we do not foresee any major problems with both of them adapting to a totally wild status.

Very little research had been done on an animal also known as the laughing hyena. The public at large show little interest in spotted hyenas but these highly intelligent creatures are mercilessly killed by trophy hunters; for which so-called damage causing permits are issued. Large numbers of spotted hyenas that have incredibly strong social bonds are also illegally killed by means of gin-traps and poisoning; or are simply shot by individuals that regard the animals as a threat to their livestock and game animals.

Although spotted hyenas (Crocuta Crocuta) are listed as “lower-risk” by the IUCN, they are categorized as Conservation Dependent – meaning that without active and successful conservation programs the species would be most likely eligible to be upgraded to a threatened status within five years.

The male has been donated to SanWild and as soon as the relevant permits have been issued he will be relocated to us and introduced to Rafiki where it is hoped that the pair will form the core of a new clan that will over a period of time be returned to the wild.

We will keep you posted on our progress and if you like, we will be very grateful for your financial support toward to translocation costs of the male as well the feeding costs of the two spotted hyenas while they are still in captivity.

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