On-line version ISSN 2071-0771
Brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) were introduced to Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Province during 2002, but their feeding ecology is poorly understood. Feeding observations of brown hyaena by field guides and the collection of 31 scats from the study area took place over an 11 month period. Standard techniques were used to analyse the scats and identify prey items present. Ten dietary categories were identified from the scats, with a mean of 3.2 dietary categories per scat. Large mammal remains were found in 30 of the 31 scats, with kudu being the most abundant (61.0% of scats). Overall the two methods indicated at least 14 mammal species being fed on by the brown hyaena. The presence of mainly large mammal remains and invertebrates (in 38.7% of all scats), together with the feeding observations of mainly large mammals by field guides, suggests that brown hyaena in Shamwari are mainly scavengers and that sufficient carrion is available, thereby reducing the need for them to hunt. A 52.0% occurrence of plant matter was found in the scats, suggesting that plant material is an important component of their diet. Further studies are underway to investigate the feeding ecology of brown hyaena in Shamwari and surrounding areas. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Comprehensive scat analysis over a number of years, monitoring of individual movement patterns and population numbers of brown hyaena in and around conservation areas will be beneficial in quantifying resource use of this species.