Urban hyenas pose threat in Addis Ababa

Wild animals attack homeless people

Urban hyenas are becoming a growing problem in Addis Ababa, where they attack homeless people at night.

The city estimates its hyena population at between 300 and 1,000, with more than half a dozen of the animals' dens near the centre.

In recent years the hyenas have begun moving into Addis Ababa from the surrounding hills, with some of them even being partly-tamed to perform in daredevil shows for tourists.

Some residents point to the usefulness of hyenas in keeping down the high numbers of stray dogs and cats as well as clearing up the carcasses of dead animals left on streets.

However the hyenas are also anti-social and extremely dangerous. In the past they have been known to unearth corpses of the poor buried in shallow graves at Ketchene cemetery, and they have also caused problems on runways at the city's airport.

In late 2012 a hyena reportedly snatched and killed a baby from a homeless woman, a community which bears the brunt of hyena attacks.

Over the past few years authorities have organised culls of hyenas, which used to only visit occasionally by night but now seem to have become part of the city fabric.