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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2012, Article ID 178348, 6 pages
Research Article

Bone Accumulations of Spotted Hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta, Erxleben, 1777) as Indicators of Diet and Human Conflict; Mashatu, Botswana

Institute for Human Evolution, School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg 2050, South Africa

Received 18 November 2011; Revised 2 March 2012; Accepted 2 March 2012

Academic Editor: Bruce Leopold

Copyright © 2012 Brian F. Kuhn. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In a region where free ranging domestic species mix with wildlife, it is imperative to determine what, if any, predation may have occurred on domestic stock. As human settlements continuously encroach upon wild habitats, determining the types of predator-human conflicts that exist can be crucial to conserve numerous predator species. The partial diet of spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta) of the Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana, was established via analyses of faunal remains associated with four dens to determine predation/scavenging on wild or domestic species. Domestic species composed less than 3% of identified faunal remains. We acknowledge that this methodology is biased against small mammals, but, when combined with sociological studies, this methodology will aid in determining alleged predation on domestic stock by spotted hyaenas. Results indicated that the spotted hyaenas in question feed primarily on wild species.