Fossil archives reveal that it is 20 Hyena specified the earth competitively 10 million years ago, many these species are now extinct and there are currently only four members of the carnivorous family Hyaenidae. These are Spotted hyenas, Striped hyenas Brown hyenas, and Aardwolves.
Brown hyenas are now quite rare, found exclusively in the drier parts of southern Africa. Unfortunately, we currently know very little about the conservation status of striped hyenas or Aardwolves in eastern Africa because these animals are generally strictly nocturnal, feed alone, and tend to be very shy so are rarely seen.
Brown Hyeanas are endemic to southern Africa except for a marginal extension in the arid parts of southwestern Angola. The Brown Hyaena range has shrunk considerably since the late 18th century when it was last recorded at Table Bay, in the far southwest of the mainland. At the end of the nineteenth century it was still regularly found as far south as Malmesbury and Beaufort West in the then Cape Province, South Africa.
Nowdays is still widespread in southern Africa. In Angola, recorded only from the southwest of the country In Namibia sporadically encountered over most of the country, mainly along the coast, in Etosha N. P., and in Bushmanland in the north-east, as well as from the Caprivi strip. Widespread in Botswana, excluding the extreme north. In Zimbabwe mainly in the western parts of the country and also the extreme south. Mozambique reported from the Banhine Flats, an arid area in the south-west of the country. There are no records from Zambia.
In South Africa, in recent years recorded from the far south of the Western Cape (Gansbaai and Bredasdorp). Still occurs in most of North West Province, and the western parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province; even occurs sporadically in Gauteng near densely populated areas.
Found in many of the smaller game reserves, but absent as a breeding species over the eastern Lowveld areas encompassing the Kruger N. P., and the surrounding reserves.
Occurs only in the west of Lesotho. Presence in Swaziland is not confirmed, but they are likely to occur in the northeast and extreme west and north-west of Swaziland.
Habitat: Found in desert areas (e.g.Namib) with an annual rainfall below 100 mm, especially along the coast, as well as semi-desert, open scrub, and open woodland savanna with a maximum rainfall up to about 650 mm. Mills(1990) found that during the hot summer months in the SW Kalahari in Botswana they favored the deep shade provided by Shepherd’s Bush Boscia albitrunca or would use holes in the ground. They also have the ability to survive close to urban areas.
The striped hyena has a very wide range spreading of Africa, northern Sahel included, and well understood East and north-east Africa, through the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus, Turkey, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, though not reaching Bhutan or Burma.
They are absent from the central Sahara (although they may occur at low density in the central Saharan massifs), their distribution in West Africa stretching from Senegal to the driest zone of the Sahelthrough Mauritania and Mali to Burkina Faso, Niger, N. Nigeria, S. Chad, and N. Cameroon.
In eastern and northeastern Africa, their range spreads from southern Egypt through most of the Horn of Africa to Tanzania. There are no reliable recent records of occurrence in Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia, although they are still present in Djibouti. In Benin, they may occur marginally at the border with Burkina Faso and Niger. There are no records authenticated by the Central African Republic although they can occur in Ghana. Records from Gambia and Sierra Leone are equivocal.
Habitat of Striped Hyena: Generally favors open or thorn bush country in arid to semi-arid environments, where water is available within 10 km. Striped Hyaenas appear to avoid open desert (such as the central Sahara) and dense thickets and forests; they have been recorded to altitudes of 3300 m in Pakistan, 2700 m in the Moroccan High Atlas, and at least 2300 m in the Ethiopian Highlands.
While active, the Striped Hyaena may cross more open areas, but they actively seek out relatively dense ground cover or rock depressions, especially large caves, for resting. Where larger caves are not available, roost sites used by striped hyenas are a usual refuge.
Striped Hyaenas may remain active in areas frequented by humans (having been recorded, for example, in the suburbs of Algiers), avoiding people on a time scale.
For most of its range, the Striped Hyena is found outdoors in a habitat or in a slightly thorny location. In North Africa, it prefers open forests and mountainous regions. The center of the Arabian Desert and the Sahara are avoided. In Central Asia, also avoids high altitudes, dense scrubs, and forests.
The highest altitudes recorded are 2250 m in Iran, 2500 m in India, and 3300 m in Pakistan. In, the Caucasus region, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, prime habitats include Savannah and semi-desert regions up to an altitude of 2, lOOm, mountain areas with valleys and slopes (even with little or without vegetation) with an abundance of caves or other resting sites and river areas.
Other favorite habitats are Tamarischi groves, the periphery of sand deserts, and special pistachio savannahs.
In Israel, it is present even close to human settlements. In India it used to be common in the open countries, especially In West Africa, the striped hyena is found in the savannahs of the Sahel and Sudan.
Spotted Hyenas are endemic to Africa, south of the Sahara, although formerly with a geographic range across almost all of Africa and Eurasia. Current distribution is more patchy, especially in West Africa, with populations often concentrated in protected areas. More continuous distributions persist over large areas of Chad, S. Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, and parts of South Africa. The species as extinct in Algeria. No recent records from Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia and Togo.
Since 2000 it has been confirmed that Spotted Hyaenas are still widespread, albeit in small numbers, in Djibouti, Gambia, and Spotted Hyaenas were reported from Eritrea. There is no confirmed evidence of their occurrence in Egypt, Liberia or Lesotho.
Habitat of Spotted Hyena: Present in all habitats including semi-desert, savanna, open forest, dense dry forest, and mountain habitats, such as Aberdare, Mount Kenya and the Ethiopian highlands, up to 4100 altitudes It is absent from or occurs at very low densities in, extreme desert conditions, higher elevations over mountains and tropical rainforests.
Although they can make deep raids in In many parts of their range they occur in close association with human habitations. Although long periods may pass between drinks, spotted hyenas are fine least somewhat dependent on water, and has been recorded an instance where a clan dispersed after the only water source within their reach has dried up.
The spotted hyaena inhabits semi-desert, Savannah, open woodland, dense dry woodland, and mountainous forest up to 4,000 m altitude. It is absent or only present at very low densities in tropical regions, tropical forests, and along the coasts (eg Namibia).
In West Africa, preferred habitats include Guinea and savannas in Sudan. It is not found in the dense forest belt. In the Namib Desert, it is located in fluvial growth along seasonal rivers, the sub-desert. In the desert areas, the brown hyena and the striped hyena are more numerous than the spotted hyena.