Up to date, the Brown Hyena Research Project has collared over 25 brown hyenas with VHF or GPS telemetry collars, as well as one spotted hyena. Below is the history of some of our study animals. All of these animals feature in our newsletters, too.
Tosca was fitted with a GPS telemetry collar in July 2006. She had a litter of 3 months old cubs at that time and therefore the programming schedule of the collar was intense and a data download was necessary every second week. The collar was dropped off in December 2007 and we retrieved more than 37 000 data sets, which gave us detailed insight into her denning behaviour. A second GPS collar was fitted to Tosca in May 2009. This collar was dropped off in November 2011. Data revealed that Tosca moved into another vacant territory and that she is regularly raising cubs. At the time the collar dropped off, she had a litter of two cubs at a den near the Atlas Bay seal colony. Tosca is still captured regularly on our camera traps that are set-up near the den.
Minerva is an old breeding female of the Agate Beach clan. She was first fitted with a VHF telemetry collar in 2003 and we replaced this collar with a GPS telemetry collar in 2007. She had cubs at that time, but was in an excellent condition. We dropped her collar off at the beginning of 2008, but she did not want to part with it easily. Eventually her collar dropped off in the surf zone just north of Agate Beach and we had to send it to Europe for data retrieval. In 2009 we fitted Minerva with a GSM collar, which sent data until March 2010. She had a litter of four cubs at that time.
Alaika belongs to the same brown hyena clan than Tosca. She was fitted as a sub-adult with a GPS telemetry collar in 2009, but her collar was bitten off by Tosca’s cubs shortly after deployment. She is fitted with a new GPS telemetry collar since May 2011 and data downloaded from the collar revealed that she had a litter of two cubs, which is raised at the same den, where Tosca is usually raising her cubs.
Tosca and Alaika share their territory with a third female, called Helene. She was collared as a sub-adult in May 2011, but also lost her collar close to the den – Alaika’s cubs managed to pull it off. However, she is often captured on the camera trap near the den, when she carried food back to the cubs.
Obelixa was first fitted with a GPS telemetry collar close to the Atlas Bay seal colony in May 2009. She is not a regular visitor to the seal colony, as she lives to the south at Elizabeth Bay. Her collar was replaced in May 2011. She was pregnant at that time. Obelixa spends most of her time at the old diamond mining ghost town at Elizabeth Bay. She likes to rest inside the ruins and visitors are often surprised by her. She is very relaxed with people.
Darwin was collared in May 2011 in the Elizabeth Bay Clan’s territory. He was often seen together with Obelixa, but suddenly disappeared out of the area. He may have been a nomad visiting the area and mating with Obelixa or he may have emigrated into another clan. Every effort is made to find him and to retrieve data.