Hyena cubs ready to face the public at Doncaster's Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Visitors to a Doncaster attraction are in for a rare treat as a pair of young hyena cubs make their public debut.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The month-old pair – the first hyena cubs born at Yorkshire Wildlife Park – are set to be the star attractions as they venture out of their den to explore their Hyenas of Harar reserve just in time for half-term.

Granada, the cub’s mother, arrived at the park from a zoo in Spain to join the cub’s father Speedy in the reserve.

The pair settled in really well together and it was not long before staff thought there could be cubs on the way.

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The two new Hyena cubs on the lookout at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Kim Wilkinson, YWP carnivore team leader, said: “We are delighted to welcome these new arrivals.

“It is wonderful that the hyenas settled well here and have bred so soon – it is more than we could have hoped for.

“They have spent their first four weeks of life down in the den out of sight to us all, but are now getting bolder by the day and over the coming weeks will venture further out into the reserve.

“Granada is a great mum and is besotted with her cubs, which is lovely to see.”

The new hyena cubs at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Spotted hyenas grow to about three feet high and can weigh from anything from 40-86 kilograms.

The cubs weigh about two pounds at birth and unusually are born with dark chocolate brown fur, their eyes open and some teeth already.

They keep the dark brown coat for about six weeks before it starts to change to the distinctive spotted markings.

The cubs have been having fun

The spotted hyena is found in Ethiopia and sub Saharan Africa. Although they have a negative reputation as scavengers , spotted hyena are efficient hunters and hunt more than half of their prey. Their powerful jaws are the strongest of any mammal. They are also incredibly intelligent and have one of the most complex social set ups of all carnivores with some huge clans being made up of 70-100 individuals.

Each clan has a dominant female and a strict hierarchy. They also have a wide vocabulary comprising 11 different sounds including the ‘laugh’ that they are famous for, which is usually a sound of submission to another hyena and the distinctive whoop noise that rings out over the African bush at night, which is a call to connect with other members of the clan and call them together.

The park is gearing up for an exciting half term of Halloween magic for families bringing the magic of fairy tales to life as the 150-acre park will transform into a spellbinding kingdom for Fantastical Enchanted from Saturday-Wednesday, October 24-28.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park's new hyena cubs

Children can explore the enormous Mushroom Forest and the colourful Rainbow Woods to look for magical unicorns.

There’s a spooky Witches Dungeon the ‘evil’ Queen’s Castle and even a Dragon’s Lair and visitors are encouraged to turn up in fairy tale or spooky fancy dress to add to the atmosphere.

John Minion, YWP chief executive officer, said: “It is important for families to be able to enjoy the great outdoors and have fun even in these restricted times.

“There is so much to see at the park and the half-term and Halloween week will bring the magic of fairy tales to life.

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors and bringing them closer to our wonderful animals and the fairytale magic.

“The park has been open since June with Covid precautions in place – we are on limited numbers with time slots and advance booking only so it is important to pre-book.

“YWP is more than 150 acres in size with more than five kilometres of pathways.

“We have extra cleaning protocols in place, lots of clear signage and even talking signs that remind people to social distance as they go around the park.

“It is so important to stay safe at this time but also important for families to have something to look forward to doing together.”

The park is home to more than 450 animals, from 70 species including lions, tigers, giraffes, red howler monkeys and the only polar bears in England.

Limited entry is available by advance tickets only from yorkshirewildlifepark.com