Den of striped hyena in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, India
Gujarat Forest Department
Striped hyena is a near threatened large carnivore and one of the least studied and data deficient species, which is facing extinction in many part of its geographical range. Den plays an important role in the striped hyenas life as well as processes like breeding and rearing young ones. The purpose of this study was to better understand striped hyena den, den site selection and characteristics to support effective long-term conservation and management.
Dens and resting sites of hyena were searched and sampled. All possible data pertaining to micro-habitat and characteristics of den were collected during a period of four years in an area of 1412.13 sq. km of dry-deciduous forest in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, India.
A total 28 dens and 30 resting sites were searched through out the study area. It was revealed that hyena prefer hilly terrain for denning that could be a strategy to avoid big cats. Grass cover was found as positively correlated while tree density was pessimistic for hyena den distribution. Hyenas were found selective for hill aspect for their denning preferring northern aspects for den site selection.
Result from this study explains some aspect of deening needs for striped hyena where they spent substantial amount of time during the day and for reproduction system and protecting their pups. Den site selection and their importance are crucial to understood to provide them safe refuge for their long term conservation.