Hyenas replace dogs in Addis Ababa

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2010:
(published October 5, 2010)
ADDIS ABABA–Predators, including hyenas, are in decline
across Africa–but not in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
Like coyotes in North American cities, hyenas are becoming
established in the suburbs, parallel to a steep drop in the numbers
of free-roaming dogs.
Chiefly nocturnal, the Addis Ababa hyenas are seldom seen,
but the staff of the Donkey Sanctuary clinic in the grain market
district on the west side of the city see increasing numbers of hyena
bites to the hindquarters of donkeys, along with the more familiar
injuries resulting from overloading, traffic accidents, and
improper care–and the rabies and anthrax cases that are also not
uncommon in Ethiopia, where animals are rarely vaccinated against
either disease.


Working in Ethiopia since 1986 and 2006, respectively, the
Donkey Sanctuary and the Brooke Hospital for Animals veterinarians
have always seen hyena bites at their outlying clinics, Ethiopian
project directors Suzan Gordon, DVM and Bojia Endebu, DVM told
ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Hyenas attack donkeys as they do sheep and goats, from
below, but instead of running like sheep or goats, donkeys turn
and kick–and survive, with rump wounds.
Reuters news coverage mentioned hyena bites among the Donkey
Sanctuary caseload at Debre Zeit, 30 miles east of Addis Ababa, in
2007. Now they occur just a few miles from the Addis Ababa city
center.
How many dogs Addis Ababa had at peak was literally anyone’s
guess. The now inactive Homeless Animals Protection Society said
100,000. The Agriculture Department said 200,000. The population is
diminished now, partly due to poisoning campaigns, partly because
the volume of donkey traffic in Addis Ababa is down by more than half
in 10 years. Fewer donkeys mean less ground-level grain storage,
less grain spilled by overloaded donkeys, fewer rats, less dung,
more trucks, and a much less hospitable environment for street dogs.
At a normal ratio of bites to dogs, the 740 bites reported
to the Ethiopian Health & Nutrition Research Institute in 2008-2009
by victims seeking post-exposure rabies treatment suggest as few as
11,100 dogs remain.
The Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society
International, and Amsale Gessesse Memorial Foundation (now called
the International Fund for Africa) in 2009 cosponsored a
demonstration street dog sterilization project in the Kirkos abattoir
district. The veterinary staff had to be trained on the job, and
logistic difficulties slowed the work as well, but the team
nonetheless sterilized 800 dogs, two-thirds of the goal. The city
government agreed to expand the project to three additional sites. On
September 4, 2010 the effort was endorsed by Ethiopian President
Girma Woldegiorgis.
Assessing the effect of the pilot project and the population
of dogs yet to be sterilized, ANIMAL PEOPLE between September 1 and
September 4, 2010 did night-and-day dog and cat counts covering 10
representative square miles of Addis Ababa on foot. The ANIMAL
PEOPLE counts projected a current dog population of about 8,200,
with about 2,050 cats chiefly occupying habitat with low dog density.

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