The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) in Namibia

Spotted hyenas are widespread throughout Africa south of the Sahara desert. In Namibia they are found mainly found in protected areas in the north-central, north-eastern and western parts. The total population size of spotted hyenas is estimated to be between 27800 and 48200 animals and between 5000 and 8800 spotted hyenas are found in Namibia. Their international conservation status is Lower Risk; conservation dependent.

Distribution of spotted hyenas in Namibia (pink: high density, blue: medium density, green: low density). Source: PCT Atlas 2004.

Spotted hyenas weigh between 45 and 75 kg, with females being heavier and larger than males. Southern Namib spotted hyenas live in small clans. The largest clan size recorded so far is three animals.

Spotted hyenas were first reported in the Southern Namib area at the beginning of the 1990s. It is assumed that they migrated into this area from the north, following the game species during a period of extreme drought. Since then, incidental sightings around the some mountains and water troughs have been recorded and occurrences of spotted hyena road kills on the tar road between Aus and Luderitz indicate that it is a resident population.

Their main food sources in the Southern Namib Desert are Gemsbok, Springbok and feral Namib horses. Foals and juvenile horses are extremely vulnerable to spotted hyena predation, but predation rate seems to be influenced by the availability of other food sources.