TAMPA (FOX 13) - Visitors to Busch Gardens may spot a baby hyena scampering around the park. 'Mandazi' is now 20 weeks old and has just been introduced to the park’s hyena group.
The male cub was born at the park back in April to first-time mother Taziki, who was also born at Busch Gardens. A park spokesperson says Mandazi is named for his sweet personality, using the word for a traditional pastry found on the Swahili coast.
While hyenas are currently not endangered, Busch Gardens says their populations and habitats are shrinking in the wild due to issues like poaching, human conflict and habitat destruction.
Hyena facts from Busch Gardens:
Hyenas live in matriarchal social groups where females, weighing up to 165 pounds, are typically larger than the males. They are more closely related to a mongoose and cat than a dog. Like other African carnivores, hyenas are important for the health of hoofed animal populations by weeding out the weak and sick as prey to keep the balance between the herds and their food resources.
Guests can see the baby hyena in the Edge of Africa area of the park or on the Heart of Africa tour.