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Rebranding the Hyena

Researchers unravel the private life of this weird, wonderful carnivore

In the movie The Lion King, hyenas are the villains. They're portrayed as slobbering, mangy, stupid scavengers always ready to do someone else's dirty work. It's entertaining, but the caricature perpetuates wrong ideas about these social carnivores, bemoans zoologist Kay Holekamp. She should know. For the past 14 years, she has followed the soap opera played out by a clan of around 70 spotted hyenas in the Talek area of Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve, and she's out to set the record straight.

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