Rhino River Lodge recently teamed up with the good people over at Zululand Rhino Reserve to rescue a spotted hyena from a poacher’s snare. The hyena was first seen by a group of guests from Rhino River Lodge while out on a game drive with Ranger Frances Hannah. At first, the sighting was met with excitement as the spotted hyena population in the area is still quite small and sightings are rare. However, as the group approached the hyena, they noticed that something was not quite right with her.


Around the hyena’s neck was a shimmering piece of wire, cutting deep into her throat and exposing pink flesh. She has obviously gotten herself trapped in a poacher’s snare and managed to escape but in the process had tightened the wire noose. Her chances of survival like that were next to nil.


Photo by Malcom Sutton

Ranger Frances knew something had be done and immediately called the lodge’s general manager, Dale Airton, and stood guard watching the hyena until he could arrive. When Dale and the ZRR team arrived at the scene and tried to approach the hyena, she quickly disappeared down a nearby warthog burrow that turned out to be her den.

Thus began the three day ordeal of trying to catch the hyena. As luck would have it, on the third night when everyone had all but given up hope, the vet finally managed to dart the injured animal!  Though it looked severe, Dr. Toft felt that the injury would heal itself easily and that the hyena should recover just fine with time.


As a happy ending to what could have been a very sad story, another hyena was seen hanging around the same den site so (fingers crossed) the Zululand Rhino Reserve could have some new little hyena pups running around in the future. For now though, we are happy knowing that this hyena has got a second chance at life.


Written by Claire Birtwhistle