Hyenas Laugh It Up at the Bronx Zoo

By Jennifer Millman
|  Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009  |  Updated 10:15 AM EDT
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There's a new exhibit in town.

There's a new exhibit in town.

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There's a new exhibit coming to the Bronx Zoo. And it's sure to keep you in hysterics.

Hyenas are coming to town. The spotted brother and sister, Kidogo and Kubwa, were born last March in Denver and recently joined the Bronx Zoo's lions, gazelles, zebras and other wildlife in the African Plains exhibit, the Wildlife Conservation Society said.

Named in Swahili for the size of their heads (Kubwa has a bigger one than her brother), Kubwa and Kidogo weigh 91 pounds and 75 pounds, respectively.

Although cute and cuddly-looking, you don't want to get too close; these are ferocious animals – and serious hunters.

While most people associate the animals with the sounds that earn them the nickname "laughing hyenas," it's no laughing matter for their prey in the wild. Spotted hyenas are the largest members of the hyena family and live in sub-Saharan Africa on savannahs and open woodlands.

“More than 30 years have passed since hyenas have been part of the Bronx Zoo,” said Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and Senior Vice President of WCS Living Institutions. “We are pleased to have hyena back at the zoo so that our visitors can get a glimpse of these amazing creatures and learn more about their importance to the ecosystem.”

Spotted hyena aren't considered an endangered species, but humans are threatening their habitats in western Africa. Many of the animals have died or moved elsewhere. The Wildlife Conservation Society has launched efforts to protect their lands on the continent.

Want to see the hyenas for yourself? The Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays through November 2.

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